Monday, 23 December 2013

Primary Authority to be extended to fire safety

The government is set to extend Primary Authority to fire safety from next April as part of efforts to relieve burdens on business through guaranteeing that regulation is enforced efficiently.
 As a result commercial property owners and multi-site landlords will collaborate with a single local authority to ensure that they have the best advice on how to implement the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order when it comes into effect on April 6th 2014.
 The same authority will also coordinate inspections and enforcement, and all together the new system should be clearer and more consistent.
 "No enterprise should be held back by confusing or contradictory advice from regulators," said business minister Michael Fallon.
 "Primary Authority is designed to make sure that hard-pressed businesses know what's expected of them under the law – and receive clear guidance on how to maintain the highest safety standards."
 Meanwhile, Helen Dickinson, the director general of the British Retail Consortium (BRC) has explained how she is ecstatic that such a "common sense approach" is being taken, as it means there is a better way of working for all parties involved.
 "The BRC strongly supported the pilot which tested whether this move could work in practice, and which demonstrated that businesses and fire authorities both stand to gain from partnership working," she continued.
 The extension will only apply to England and Wales at present.
 To help businesses make the most of the scheme, the Chief Fire Officers' Association ( CFOA ) and the Better Regulation Delivery Office (BRDO) have collaborated to produce a series of training and engagement events that will take place next year between January and March.
 Commercial buildings, non-domestic and multi-occupancy premises in England and Wales are already forced to undertake a 'suitable and sufficient' fire risk assessment carried out under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.
While the overwhelming majority of premises do this, if the assessment is thought to have been carried out to an insufficient extent, the Responsible Person can face an unlimited fine or up to two years in prison.

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