The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has called for mandatory fire safety certificates to be re-introduced for high-risk properties in a bid to ensure improved fire safety across the UK.
In its response to the call for evidence from the Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety following the Grenfell Tower disaster, RIBA has said that the independent review must be more comprehensive.
The body has made a number of recommendations in addition to those outlined in the review, including the reintroduction of fire safety certificates for designated properties.
Currently, the system allows for a level of self-assessment with regards to fire safety; fire certificate legislation was repealed by the 2005 regulatory reform order. Under the reform, a ‘responsible person’ is tasked with carrying out fire risk assessments.
These appointments are unregulated, however, and the current regime has been shown to be less than effective in terms of fire safety in high-rise, multiple occupancy housing under local authority or housing association ownership, the body states.
For these higher-risk premises, RIBA is calling for the reintroduction of formal fire certification, enforced by the fire brigade, along with the rights to issue prohibition notices. Alternatively, the body suggests “a much more rigorous, independent and regulated system of fire risk assessors needs to be implemented”.
Other reforms proposed by the organisation include the mandatory introduction of sprinklers in new and retrofitted buildings and the use of non-combustible materials in external walls for properties that will be over 18m in height.
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