Written evidence submitted by Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Services [BSB 027]


Following the review of the draft Building Safety Bill by the Fire Protection Department at Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service, please find our observations and questions with regards to the planned changes to be implemented within the Draft Building Safety Bill.

Clause 13 Local authorities and fire and rescue authorities: provision of assistance etc to a regulator; and Clause 14 Provision of assistance etc: supplementary 


Fire and Rescue Authorities have the legal power to provide assistance requested by the Building Safety Regulator, the additional requirement to be called upon by the Building Safety Regulator could cause the following issues for ourselves as a Fire and Rescue Service.


Due to the complexities involved within these consultations of these “Higher Risk buildings” this will have the potential to interrupt and possibly cause delays with the Risk Based Inspection Program (RBIP) and other activities that the Department are required to fulfil.  In addition to the potential impact on normal working activities this additional requirement could of an impact on the development of personnel and require additional development/upskilling and other support including financial investment to ensure personnel have the require competency to be able to provide the assistance for these consultations.


The potential increase in workloads would require further investment within the department to ensure we can provide suitable and sufficient outputs in addition to providing the additional support on behalf of the Building Safety Regulator.     


Chapter 3 Staff etc.

Clause 14 Provision of assistance etc: Supplementary

The Draft Building Safety Bill indicates that there may be a requirement for a Fire and Rescue Authorities to provide assistance and support to another authority, this will add to the issues and concerns outlined in Clause 13 above, the additional commitments would have an impact on the normal working activities due to the complexity of consultations and protracted timescales individuals would be required to commit too, this may require further resource allocation to prevent any impact on the normal business duties of the Fire and Rescue Service.  

Part 2, 19: Meaning of “higher-risk building”

After reviewing the definition of a “higher-risk building” we feel that further details and clarity would be required for all parties concerned as we feel the current description doesn’t provide this.

Chapter 6: Plans and reports

Clause 23 Strategic plan; and Clause 24 Revised strategic plans

Fire and Rescue Services should be consulted on the strategic plan and what powers will Fire and Rescue Services have to challenge the Strategic plan and influence changes to Strategic (a suitable Strategic plan).  By providing suitable powers to challenge the responsible person to review wand change the strategic plan if this is not suitable and sufficient

Chapter 7 – Enforcement – Clause 27: Authorised Officers

After reviewing whether Officers should be authorised and warranted outside their current powers, although there is overlapping between Legislations between Housing and Fire Safety, it does provide the benefit of gaining access to provide a holistic view beyond the common areas of a building and potentially identifying risks and issues which would not normally be identified.

The additional impact this will have on Fire and Rescue personnel in terms of workloads and working time carrying out inspection of additional areas within these types of building which previously would only be focused on common areas, as highlighted in both Clause 13 and 14 with the potential impact this could have on the Business as usual within the Department and the requirement for further investment and expenditure maybe required.

Part 2 – Supplementary and general

32. Cooperation and information sharing

Currently across Fire and Rescue organisations there is a variety of systems and processes with different Services having similar systems but varying workflows and processes, due to the variations potential issues identified include:

Part 4 – Higher Risks Buildings

Clause 61. Accountable person

We feel the proposed definition of accountable person requires a more defined definition as currently this appears to overlap with both the Responsible person and the duty holder.

We have identified that accountable persons should liaise and work in cooperation with a single point of contact in the form a Responsible person to ensure continuity and compliance.

Clause 64 Occupied building requirement to apply for a certificate

Within a multiple occupancy building in which there is multiple accountable persons, one responsible person for the building to lead and ensure compliance throughout the building

Clause 65: Building assurance certificate

In regards to the issuing of building certificates a question was raised that when a certificate is refused and notice given to the accountable person, would any other parties including ourselves as a Fire and Rescue Service be informed and notified?

Clause 68: Regulator’s power of veto over appointment

A question was raised to what happens if the appointment of the building safety manager is refused and if that individual had responsibility for other buildings in other authorities would they be made aware of the veto over appointment?

Clause 72 Assessment of building safety risks


Definition of a Major Incident

The current definition of a “Major Incident” currently is not suitable, a major incident shouldn’t just be based on injuries or fatalities, but other contributing factors should be considered including a failure of a management system or fire safety system e.g. changes to evacuation strategy from Stay put to simultaneous during an incident.  Major incidents could have triggers including circumstances when multiple compartments or floors are involved this includes multiple flats when the incident has progressed through the initial compartmentation.

Clause 86. Duties on residents

The current duty of residents provides a good basis for the residents to contribute to the safety of the building they occupier, with details of how these duties can be enforced by the Accountable Person.

Clause 92: Compliance notices: supplementary

A question was raised if the Regulator is in a Primary Authority should they be informed?  

Schedule 8 Construction products regulations

Provision for an open and transparent audit trail of any building products or systems to be included within the construction and maintenance of buildings from the source of components, manufacturing, installation and maintenance and inspection of components. This Golden thread approach would provide a greater governance, increasing accountability and traceability in the event of something leading to a failure or not meeting building regulations.


The Draft Building Safety Bill does addresses some of the issues and provides scope for the new regulatory system, the draft Bill includes a variety of individuals including accountable persons, residents, duty holders and the responsible person, some of the areas we have highlighted in the above analysis of the Draft Bill should be considered and a review of some of the definitions would be beneficial. 

The proposed Bill does provide some realistic and a system of accountability for those responsible for the building safety, but as discussed in the points above some areas require further clarity including definitions and some of the sanctions require additional details and clarity.

We feel that the appointment of the HSE as the new building regulator, is a positive appointment.  The HSE are a well-established and recognised throughout industry within risk management, as an organisation they are centrally funded and have demonstrated efficient cost recovery of prosecutions.  The only area we have identified with the appointment of the HSE as the building regulator is a possible conflict of interest, in the event an investigation into an accident or fatality within a fire situation in a high-risk building, in which they will be both the Regulator and the investigating authority.

We feel the Draft Building Safety Bill doesn’t present the opportunity to address other building safety issues such as sprinkler systems.  Whilst we fully support the promotion of sprinklers, this Bill should not be delayed by further additions, sprinklers are one of a number of passive solutions.


September 2020