Home Office introduces Fire Safety Bill

The Home Office is introducing a new bill to improve fire safety in buildings in England and Wales, to ensure tragedies like the Grenfell Tower fire never happen again.

The proposed Fire Safety Bill builds on action already taken to ensure that people feel safe in their homes, and amends the Fire Safety Order 2005 to clarify that the responsible person or duty-holder for multi-occupied, residential buildings must manage and reduce the risk of fire for: the structure and external walls of the building, including cladding, balconies and windows; and entrance doors to individual flats that open into common parts.

It is hoped that the clarification will empower fire and rescue services to take enforcement action and hold building owners to account if they are not compliant.

Minister for Security James Brokenshire said: “We remain committed to implementing the recommendations made following phase one of the Grenfell Tower Inquiry, and the government has already made major reforms to building safety. Today’s bill will help bring about meaningful change to improving building safety.”

The bill will also give the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government the powers to amend the list of qualifying premises that fall within the scope of the Fire Safety Order by way of secondary legislation, enabling the government to respond quickly to developments in the design and construction of buildings.