Last week, the Government published a draft of their ‘Building Safety Bill’. The Housing Secretary described the bill as the “biggest improvements to building safety in nearly 40 years”
On a mission to achieve better safety systems and regulation, the bill is looking to put in place a more stringent regulatory framework to implement a stronger focus around building safety for developers and landlords.
The draft Bill will make ensure that those responsible for the safety of residents are accountable for any mistakes and must put them right, this includes landlords, housing associations and more. It will fully establish a new regulator that will enforce new rules and take strong actions against those who break them.
The regulator will have 3 key purposes:
- To oversee the safety and standard of all buildings
- Directly assure the safety of higher-risk buildings
- Improve the competence of people responsible for managing and overseeing building work
This draft Bill will have a very specific impact on fire safety.
In the aftermath of the Grenfell Tower tragedy, leaseholders have borne the brunt of many costs associated with fixing fire safety problems and implementing fire safety measures. This may start to change as, under this bill, leaseholders would also be allowed to refuse payment if the charge is deemed ‘unreasonable’ or if the freeholder has not provided a clear breakdown of costs.
This bill also suggests the implantation of a new 'building safety charge' to be set up for leaseholders and this news has led to many developers and landlords revisiting their fire strategy with fire doors rightfully becoming a really important element of their new outlook.
Fire doors will be a key part of property owner's new outlook. There are about 3 million new fire doors bought and installed every year in the UK and getting it right first time is not only ethically the right thing to do to help protect the safety of your tenants – but thanks to this new bill, not having the right doors in place will also have financial implications when they need to be changed.
If a fire door is properly made by a certified manufacturer, with compatible parts, and certified by an accredited third party, it should hold back a fire for 30 minutes or more. It is imperative that fire doors are installed correctly and receive regular inspections and so, I’m glad to see they’re back at the forefront of fire safety conversations.
Three Sixty were proud to be part of positive change ahead of the Bill's implementation, we fitted fire doors that had a complete door assembly set incorporating ancillary products such as smoke seals, intumescent strips and fire tested ironmongery all of which have been tested on the actual door set on which it comes.
If you’re revisiting your fire door strategy in anticipation of the updating Building Safety Bill, please consider the below points first:
- Check your door’s certification
- Make sure there are combined smoke and fire seals around the door
- Check the handles close properly
- Make sure you have appropriate door closure mechanisms – the wrong 'closers' can physically damage frames and hinges through slamming, as well as causing injury to the people who use the doors.