Welsh government developing new high rise fire safety regulations

Welsh government developing new high rise fire safety regulations

THE GOVERNMENT will outline plans for a new high rise tower block fire safety regulatory system to replace the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 [FSO] today.

Inside Housing reported on the news that the Welsh Assembly will ‘outline plans’ for the new system today, with housing and local government minister Julie James to state that it is ‘considering’ new legislation that would replace the FSO. Ministers also intend to ‘develop’ a new building control system for signing off construction work, as part of its response to the recommendations from its own building safety expert group, set up for implementing Dame Judith Hackitt’s recommendations.

Ms James had previously stated that the FSO ‘needs to be radically reformed or replaced’, while in April the assembly announced that it would ‘promote’ sprinkler retrofitting in high rises – another recommendation from the expert group. A further ‘definitive’ announcement on building safety was set to be made by Ms James in the autumn of this year.

She commented: ‘While the Hackitt report recommended that all buildings above 30 metres should be subject to a new regulatory system, I believe that the situation is different in Wales, where we have fewer buildings of that height. I am clear that the threshold will be no higher than 18 metres. We will also consider whether the new system could feasibly apply to other types of higher-risk buildings, such as those where vulnerable people sleep.

‘We have a strong record of working to improve fire safety in people’s homes; we led the way in requiring sprinklers in all new and converted homes, and since responsibility for fire was devolved in 2005, the number of fires in dwellings has fallen further and faster in Wales than anywhere else in the UK.’