Building Regulations Fire Safety Procedural Guidance
The revised Building Regulations Fire Safety Procedural Guidance (Procedural Guidance) document was informed as part of the Joint Regulators Group of the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local government Building Safety Programme. The group composed of multidisciplinary representatives from Local Authority Building Control, National House Building Council, National Fire Chiefs Council, Home Office, Building Regulations Advisory Committee, Association of Consultant Approved Inspectors, Early Adopters and industry representatives.
The revision was informed by consultation of representatives, and those they represent, against the existing document with the addition of providing a new fire and rescue service consultation pro forma and consultation process maps. The addition of the fire and rescue service pro forma is a positive step in establishing a standardised approach to providing information required to inform the Building Regulations consultation process.
As the professional voice of fire and rescue services in the UK, National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) aims to drive improvement and consistency in service delivery, NFCC also promotes high standards of professionalism within the fire sector. NFCC are of the opinion Procedural Guidance assists in delivering these key objectives. If Procedural Guidance is followed then many of the issues regularly encountered during Building Regulations consultations, and those submitted as part of the review process, will be addressed. The addition of the fire and rescue service pro forma is a positive step in achieving this.
The revised Procedural Guidance, new fire and rescue service pro forma and consultation process maps will assist fire and rescue services, and those they consult with during Building Regulations consultations, in achieving increased consistency of consultation and regulation. This will contribute to providing greater reassurance of the consultation process to premises owners, occupiers and members of the public alike.
What is Building Regulations Fire Safety Procedural Guidance?
Procedural guidance has been prepared for use by Building Control Bodies (Local Authority Building Control and Approved Inspectors) and the fire and rescue service, in England and Wales, but may also be of interest to any person with influence over a building’s fire safety arrangements. It explains the steps involved in approving the fire safety aspects of building work, and the interaction between the Building Regulations and other statutory fire safety requirements in England and Wales.
Although the guide has no legal status, it is intended that all Building Control Bodies, and the fire and rescue service, will follow its principles. By ensuring proper and timely consultation between Building Control Bodies and fire and rescue services, and appropriate regard to the fire and rescue service response, there should be no need for extra building work to be undertaken at the end of a building project and before the building can be occupied for its intended purpose. Owners and occupiers will also benefit, as it generates a sound basis for their fire safety management procedures and fire risk assessment.
FRS and Building Control Consensus Reaching Process
We are pleased to announce the commencement of a Consensus Reaching Process, developed by a Joint Regulators Group (JRG) consisting of multidisciplinary representatives from Local Authority Building Control (LABC), Association of Consultant Approved Inspectors (ACAI), National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC), Welsh Government, Industry representatives and professionals, Home Office and Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG).
The process is to be used to help resolve differences of opinion between a Fire and Rescue Service (FRS) and a Building Control Body (BCB) when consulting on applications made under the Building Regulations (as amended). In the majority of cases, FRSs and BCBs work well together to achieve safe buildings, but there may be rare occasions when consensus is not immediately reached. This documented process is intended to offer a framework for resolution of such situations by consensus decision-making with the help of sector professionals.
Entitled “Fire and Rescue Service and Building Control Body Consensus Reaching Process”, the document and process was published on 6 April 2021 for an initial trial period alongside the Building Regulations Fire Safety Procedural Guidance detailed above, which was revised in July 2020.
The process is a non-statutory, voluntary route for BCB and FRS professionals to raise their concerns to a panel of practising sector professionals from LABC, ACAI, and NFCC with the aim of seeking consensus between both parties on a way forward.
Please do take the time to read through the document and do contact your respective organisation’s scheme coordinator for more information. If you have a current issue that would benefit from the Consensus Reaching process, please see the document for further information on how to make use of the scheme.
Organisation scheme co-ordinators are: