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New guidance on Fire Safety Order aims for clarity and consistency
New guidance on the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 has been published by the Chief Fire Officers Association.

The document aims to provide regulators and enforcers with a user-friendly guide on the meaning and interpretation of the provisions of the Fire Safety Order, in order to promote consistency of enforcement. It brings in lessons learned since the introduction of the legislation nearly five years ago.

The 135-page document – which follows the structure of the legislation – also sets out to clarify how the Fire Safety Order overlaps with other legislation, such as the Housing Act 2004, and on the relationship between published guidance, benchmark standards and their use to achieve compliance with the Fire Safety Order.

The guidance makes clear, however, that it should be consulted together with the legislation itself, not instead of it. It aims to support Guidance Note 1 issued in 2007 by the Department for Communities and Local Government, but the latter continues to be the statutory guidance to which enforcing authorities must have consideration.

In the introduction to the guidance, the authors say:

“It is hoped that this non-statutory guidance will help to secure uniformity of application of the Order. However, only the courts can give a binding interpretation on a point of law. Enforcing authorities should bear this in mind when using this guidance and make it clear when giving advice on the application of the articles.”

Nick Coombe of London Fire Brigade and chair of CFOA's enforcement working group said:

“We have learned a lot since the introduction of the Fire Safety Order in 2006 and we felt there was a need for additional guidance for regulators to reflect our findings. What we have produced will support and complement the existing guidance.”
Download the new Regulators Guidance

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