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Fire Safety Act 2021

27th May 2021

After much publicity, the Fire Safety Act 2021 (“the Act”) received Royal Assent on 29 April 2021.

The Act, which amends the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (“the 2005 Order”), has seen little change from the draft Bill proposed over a year ago (reported by us here). The Act itself contains only three small sections, however it is of huge importance.

Section 1 extends the scope of the premises to which the 2005 Order applies and thereby clarifies that the “responsible person” under the 2005 Order must also manage and reduce the risk of fire in relation to:-

  • The structure and external walls of the building, including cladding, balconies and windows; and

  • Entrance doors to individual flats that open into common parts.

Secondary legislation is required to bring Section 1 into effect, so it is not yet in force. We are not aware of any date being set for such secondary legislation at present, but there is unlikely to be any reason to delay.

Section 2 comes into effect automatically on 29 June 2021 and gives the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government the power to amend the list of qualifying premises that fall within the scope of the 2005 Order by way of secondary legislation, enabling the government to respond quickly to developments in the design and construction of buildings.

Such secondary legislation provides a foundation to take forward recommendations from the Grenfell Tower Inquiry Phase One report, which stated that building owners and managers of high-rise and multi-occupied residential buildings should be responsible for a number of areas including:-

  • regular inspections of lifts and the reporting of results to the local fire and rescue services;

  • ensuring evacuation plans are reviewed and regularly updated and personal evacuation plans are in place for residents whose ability to evacuate may be compromised;

  • ensuring fire safety instructions are provided to residents in a form that they can reasonably be expected to understand;

  • ensuring individual flat entrance doors, where the external walls of the building have unsafe cladding, comply with current standards.

Section 3 provides a framework for taking into account proof of compliance or a failure to comply with risk assessments in proceedings for contravention of the various provisions of the 2005 Order, as well as a requirement that the Secretary of State undertakes consultation before revising or withdrawing any risk based guidance in relation to relevant buildings. Section 3 comes into force at the same time as Section 1.

The Act will sit alongside the more controversial Building Safety Bill, which continues to be debated and is expected to be passed later in the year.

In the meantime, Section 1 of the Act provides the much needed clarity over the frequently debated issue of liability for external structures and flat entrance doors when it comes to fire safety compliance. We will report further once the secondary legislation has been announced and Section 1 has been brought into force.

If you have any queries whatsoever, please get in touch with a member of the team on 01435 897297 or


This legal update is provided free of charge for information purposes only; it does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied on as such. No responsibility for the accuracy and/or correctness of the information and commentary set out in the article, or for any consequences of relying on it, is assumed or accepted by any member of KDL Law or by KDL Law as a whole.

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