Tuesday, 26 November 2013

More reliable fire safety advice on its way for landlords and business owners

New initiatives to improve the clarity and consistency of enforcement of fire safety regulations in England and Wales have been welcomed by the two leading authorities on fire door safety, the BWF-CERTIFIRE Fire Door and Doorset Scheme and the Fire Door Inspection Scheme (FDIS).

The Government has announced that it will legislate to extend Primary Authority to fire safety from next April. This will allow multi-site landlords and commercial property owners to form a statutory partnership with a single local authority to get reliable advice on the implementation of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order, known as the RRO.

The ‘primary authority’ is a specific local authority that serves as a business’ first point of call for advice on regulatory issues. Any other local authority must consult with the primary authority before taking enforcement action - promoting consistency and proportionality in the way these businesses are regulated and providing confidence for the business in the information it receives.

John Fletcher, manager of the BWF-CERTIFIRE Scheme, says:
“We are acutely aware of how complex all of these issues can be for our customers. We focus on trying to simplify fire door matters, but this is just one element. Fundamentally the RRO is good legislation, but it cascades responsibility to the person that can’t be the expert in all of these things – they need help. Common sense and simplicity brought to support the Responsible Person in making the right decision for their business and those people using their buildings through Primary Authority arrangements is a real step in the right direction and should be applauded.”

To help businesses and fire authorities to benefit from the scheme, the Chief Fire Officers’ Association (CFOA) will be providing a training programme for fire risk assessment staff next year.

Neil Ashdown, manager of FDIS, says:
“We know that there is an urgent need to raise awareness and understanding of the critical role of fire doors among those designated as the Responsible Person under the RRO. Studying for the FDIS Diploma is already transforming the knowledge of more than 370 people right now, and I hope that CFOA and other organisations will help us extend the reach of that knowledge and qualification even further over coming months.”

FDIS and BWF-CERTIFIRE will be backing CFOA’s Business Support Week next year, and both organisations have also confirmed that their highly successful Fire Door Safety Week will run again from 15 September 2014. This year’s campaign reached more than 6.5 million people.

In the meantime the British Woodworking Federation is creating a Fire Door Installer Register, designed to bring greater recognition to professional fire door installers and to help building owners who need their services find qualified and certified people they can trust.



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