Fire risk assessors, together with building owners and safety managers who employ them, now face additional challenges when it comes to satisfying new legal requirements under the Fire Safety Act 2021 and further incoming legislation.
Here, Jamie Allam, CEO of Amthal, looks at the expectations with the Building Safety Bill that has now achieved Royal Assent to become the Building Safety Act 2022 and what support is available to ensure compliance.
The Fire Safety Act, which came in 2021, realises a significant change.
Designed to meet fire safety competency standards, the legislation requires that a building’s external walls be considered as part of any fire risk assessment.
The incoming Building Safety Act goes further still.
Building Safety Act: Biggest Change In A Generation
Described as the “biggest change to building safety in a generation,” it places a clear duty on ‘Accountable Persons’ and ‘Responsible Persons’ to confirm the competency of any fire risk assessor they appoint to assist them in undertaking a building fire risk assessment.
This will include implementing specific gateway points at the design, construction and completion phases to ensure that safety is considered at each and every stage of a building’s construction.
And safety risks, including fire safety, are considered at the earliest stage of the planning process.
However, in both acts, there remains a lack of detailed definition around the term ‘competent’, putting these ‘duty holders’ under considerable pressure to make the correct choices. The Fire Safety Act contains no action to stop the unsatisfactory practice of allowing unqualified individuals to assess fire risk.
The Fire Sector Federation has referenced this situation as ‘an opportunity missed’ given that a more robust approach to competence could have been stated.
How Can Amthal Help Ensure You’re Compliant With The Building Safety Act?
Those accountable for building and fire safety, including fire risk assessors operating without clearly demonstrable competency, need to ensure they’re ready for the Building Safety Act.
They must fully understand the implications of demonstrating compliance with their obligations under the new legislation. And there are alternative solutions available to avoid the penalties of non-compliance.
For one, Amthal as an authorised partner, is ready and available to support fire risk assessors, working with designated responsible persons right from initial design stages through the installation of fire and building safety equipment through to maintenance, including weekly fire testing.
We will also ensure we work to ensure the ‘golden thread’ of information is created, stored and updated throughout the building’s lifecycle, which is now a requisite placed on owners to enable swift action to be taken by the regulator, wherever necessary.
We are on hand to regularly support accountable and responsible persons to ensure compliance with the legislation and help meet the new obligations set upon them.
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