Welsh government announces regulatory reform for fire safety in high-rises

The development comes amid the government’s response to the Building Safety Expert Group’s Road Map.

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The Welsh government has announced it will reform the system regulating fire safety in high-rise buildings.

Housing and Local Government Minister Julie James has said she will consider new legislation to replace the current Fire Safety Order and building control process.

The developments come as part of the government’s response to the Building Safety Expert Group’s Road Map, intended as a guide for improving fire safety in high-rise buildings – following Dame Judith Hackitt’s independent report in the wake of the Grenfell disaster.

Speaking on the developments, James said: “While the Hackitt report recommended that all buildings above 30 metres should be subject to a new regulatory system, I believe that the situation is different in Wales, where we have fewer buildings of that height.

“I am clear that the threshold will be no higher than 18 metres. We will also consider whether the new system could feasibly apply to other types of higher-risk buildings, such as those where vulnerable people sleep.

She continued: “We have a strong record of working to improve fire safety in people’s homes; we led the way in requiring sprinklers in all new and converted homes, and since responsibility for fire was devolved in 2005, the number of fires in dwellings has fallen further and faster in Wales than anywhere else in the UK.

“The Building Safety Expert Group recommendations take a pragmatic and considered response to resident safety.

“We are taking forward this work at pace and while a number of areas, including possible legislation, will require more in-depth analysis, I will make a definitive announcement on a proposal for buildings in scope in the autumn.”

 

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