Calls for new authority to oversee fire safety risk of HRRBs

On behalf of Attwaters Jameson Hill posted in Planning Law on Tuesday, June 12th, 2018

A new joint competent authority (JCA) should be set up to oversee the fire safety and other risks associated with buildings more than 10 storeys in height, it has been said.

The comments feature in Dame Judith Hackitt’s final report into fire safety for high-risk residential buildings (HRRBs), which was carried out in the aftermath of the Grenfell Tower tragedy.

The report, known as the Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety, has recommended that local planning authorities should be required to consult with the JCA to ensure that all HRRBs are readily accessible to rescue services if a fire breaks out.

Under the proposed terms, the JCA would be made up of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), the Local Authority Building Standards and various fire and rescue authorities – but these organisations would simply work together as opposed to undergo any kind of merger.

The report claims that there are a number of “minimum requirements around fire safety” which need to be closely considered “when local planning authorities are determining planning applications”.

As such, it adds that “input” from “those with the relevant experience” will be required during the planning process whenever such issues are being addressed.

All HRRBs would be affected by the proposals – as would any other buildings that fall within a particular radius of an HRRB.

In such instances, the JCA would seek to ensure that the affected buildings are “sufficiently accessible” in the event of a fire and that the surrounding buildings would not adversely affect accessibility for emergency vehicles.

The full report can be accessed here for further information.


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