New Government safety recommendations reflect years of Brigade lobbying

September 24, 2018

Crucial safety recommendations announced by the Government recently reflect many of the issues that London Fire Brigade has spent years lobbying for.

In particular a review of the fire safety guidance used to measure fire safety standards in and around buildings, known as Approved Document B, could help ensure all buildings are safer.

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Charlie Pugsley said: “The Brigade has been calling for a review of Approved Document B for a number of years and it’s urgent review was a key recommendation in our submission to Dame Judith Hackitt’s independent review of building regulations and fire safety.

This announcement finally demonstrates that the Government understands how we need to completely rethink fire safety regulation. As we submitted to Dame Judith Hackitt’s review, there are countless points where a dangerous decision can be made about a building’s design or upkeep and hardly any measures to ensure that the people making those decisions are sufficiently experienced and properly qualified.

“We also support Dame Hackitt’s view on the need for both cultural change and the need for a new regulatory framework providing the appropriate level of scrutiny, oversight and where necessary suitably robust sanctions “

Landlord responsibilities

Another key fire safety area the Government has announced recently is the introduction of a mandatory requirement on private rental sector landlords to ensure electrical installations within their properties are inspected every five years.

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Pugsley added: “Providing a safe home for tenants is a landlord’s primary responsibility and as electrical items are one of the most common causes of fires, requiring landlords to check they are safe is essential.

“Gas testing has been a legal obligation for landlords for 20 years and we have been calling for the electrical safety of private sector renters to be taken seriously for many years.

“One of the key areas were have called for is the mandatory testing of electrical installations, such as fixed wiring, to be brought in to help prevent fires caused by electrical items starting in the first place.

“We are pleased that the Government has now acted upon the recommendations made by the then DCLG working group in 2016, and we will continue to work with the Government and other partner organisations to ensure the safety of Londoners.”

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