The LWF Blog

Fire Safety Engineering for Design – Legislation – Part 4

November 23, 2020 12:37 pm

LWF’s Fire Safety Engineering blog series is written for Architects, building designers and others in the construction industry to highlight and promote discussion on all topics around fire engineering. In part 3, LWF began to look at the legislation surrounding fire safety engineering in the UK. In part 4, we continue looking at the development of building and fire safety legislation in the UK.

The Fire and Rescue Services Act 2004 paved the way for The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, a far-reaching piece of fire safety legislation, which repealed and consolidated earlier and historical fire safety legislation and regulations.

The Fire Safety Order required that premises covered the Order must undergo a fire risk assessment process and the provisions made as a result would therefore be particular to those premises, avoiding the necessity of a prescription-based regulatory system. In other words, it further opened the door for performance-based fire safety engineered solutions.

The fire at Grenfell Tower in North Kensington, London in June 2017 resulted in the loss of 72 lives. The fire disaster prompted the government to instigate a public inquiry into the fire, and an independent review of the building regulations and fire safety in England was launched. The resulting report ‘Building a Safer Future: Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety (Hackitt, 2018)’ (PDF) was published in 2018. The report identified issues described as systemic and called for significant changes to the construction sector in England. The government’s response to the report has not yet been produced, at the date of publication.

The public inquiry into the Grenfell tragedy, which began in September 2017, is ongoing.

In December 2018, the UK government introduced changes to Regulation 7 of the Building Regulations, prohibiting the use of combustible materials in the external walls of high-rise buildings at least 18 m above ground level, containing one or more dwellings. This relates, of course, to the cladding applied to the exterior of the Grenfell Tower by the Local Authority.

A full technical review into Part B of the Building Regulations has also been held following Dame Hackitt’s review. The outcome is sure to result in further changes to fire safety and building control legislation.

Undoubtedly, the Grenfell Tower fire disaster will significantly impact construction in the UK and around the world.

Part 5 of LWF’s series on fire engineering will look at when and how performance-based building regulations were introduced in England and Wales. In the meantime, if you have any questions about this blog, or wish to discuss your own project with one of our fire engineers, please contact us.

Lawrence Webster Forrest has been working with their clients for over 25 years to produce innovative and exciting building projects. If you would like further information on how LWF and fire strategies could assist you, please contact the LWF office on 0800 410 1130.

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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