The government has voted down an amendment to the Fire Safety Bill seeking to protect leaseholders and tenants from paying to fix cladding on high rise flats.

Fire Safety Bill 2019-2021

The Fire Safety Bill is part of a series of changes to fire safety legislation and building safety the Government is taking following the Grenfell Tower fire in 2017, with further primary and secondary legislation to follow.

What Does the Fire Safety Bill Do?

The Bill clarifies that for any building containing two or more domestic premises e.g. apartments, the Order applies to the building’s structure which includes external walls and all common parts, including the front doors of residential properties.

It also clarifies that references to external walls in the Order include “doors or windows in those walls” and “anything attached to the exterior of those walls (including balconies).” These amendments to the Order aim to increase enforcement action in these areas, particularly where remediation of aluminium composite material (ACM) cladding is not taking place.

The bill will amend the Fire Safety Order 2005 to clarify that the responsible person or duty-holder for multi-occupied, residential buildings must manage and reduce the risk of fire for:

  • The structure and external walls of the building, including cladding, balconies and windows.
  • Entrance doors to individual flats that open into common parts.

This clarification will empower fire and rescue services to take enforcement action and hold building owners to account if they are not compliant.