The LWF Blog

Fire Safety for Facilities Management Personnel – Fire Safety Legislation and Local Acts – Part 9

September 2, 2019 12:49 pm

Lawrence Webster Forrest (LWF) is a specialist fire engineering and fire risk management consultancy whose aim is to give information on best practice in fire safety for facilities management personnel through this blog series. In part 8, we looked at those regulations equivalent to regulation B5 of the Building Regulations in Scotland and Northern Ireland. In part 9, we continue to look at fire safety legislation, in terms of the local acts which historically affected additional requirements.

Until 2013, local acts existed which were able to impose additional requirements for some categories of premises in certain areas. While the majority of requirements relating to building design and fire safety were still present in the national legislation discussed in previous blogs, until recently, local acts also had to be taken into account. Local acts existed in some areas and could impose additional requirements for some types of premises, most commonly high-rise buildings and large-area storage buildings.

The most commonly quoted of the local acts in England and Wales was the London Building Acts (Amendment) Act 1939 as amended by the Building (Inner London) Regulations 1985. The act allowed London district surveyors to demand special fire safety measures, such as sprinkler protection, in some high buildings or in large uncompartmented buildings which were to be used for manufacturing or warehousing.

Local acts were not generally concerned with means of escape for occupants or life protection measures, but rather with the potential for fire spread in the built-up area and/or provision of amenities to assist the Fire Service. Such measures were also included in national building regulations and so the need for them to be reiterated in local acts was not entirely logical any longer.

In 2012, The Department for Communities and Local Government undertook an impact assessment which was titled ‘Removing inconsistency in local fire protection standards’ (PDF). Following this, the local acts were repealed as a result from 1st Jan 2013.

LWF will continue this blog series in part 10 by discussing the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, which actually came into force towards the end of 2006, bringing sweeping changes to legislation in the fire safety arena. In the meantime, if you have any queries about your own facilities or wish to discuss this blog series, please contact Peter Gyere in the first instance on 0800 410 1130.

Lawrence Webster Forrest is a fire engineering consultancy based in Surrey with over 25 years’ experience, which provides a wide range of consultancy services to professionals involved in the design, development and construction and operation of buildings.

While care has been taken to ensure that information contained in LWF’s publications is true and correct at the time of publication, changes in circumstances after the time of publication may impact on the accuracy of this information.

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