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Lords debates Fire Safety Bill at third reading

25 November 2020

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The Fire Safety Bill had its third reading, a chance for members to make sure the eventual law is effective, workable and without loopholes, on Tuesday 24 November.

No changes to the wording of the bill were suggested ahead of third reading.

Members discussed the progress of the bill through the House at its conclusion of Lords stages.

Following completion of third reading, the bill now passes back to the Commons for consideration of Lords amendments.

Report stage: Tuesday 17 November

Members discussed a range of topics and asked the government to think again on building owner and manager duties, public registers of fire risk assessments and prevention of remediation costs being passed from freedholders to tenants.

There were three divisions (votes) on proposed amendments (changes) to the bill.

The first was on amendment to place various duties on owners and managers of buildings containing two or more domestic premises, and implement the recommendations made in the Grenfell Tower Inquiry Phase 1 Report

Members voted 269 for and 250 against, so the change was made.

The second was on amendment 10 and enables prospective and current renters, leaseholders and owners to check the fire safety status of their home by accessing a public register, similar to the Energy Performance Certificate register.

Members voted 284 for and 267 against, so the change was made.

The third was on amendment 13 and prevents freeholders passing on remediation costs to leaseholders and tenants through demands for one-off payments or increases in service charges.

Members voted 275 in favour and 262 against, so the change was made.

Third reading, a chance for members to make sure the eventual law is effective, workable and without loopholes, is scheduled for 24 November.

Committee stage: Thursday 29 October

Members discussed a range of topics including electrical appliances, the duties of the owner or manager of a building (implementing recommendations made in the Grenfell Tower Inquiry Phase 1 Report) and establishing a fire safety code of practice. 

Second reading: Thursday 1 October

Members remembered the 72 victims of the Grenfell Tower fire on 14 June 2017, the greatest loss of life in a residential fire since World War Two. They stressed the importance of working at pace so the bill’s measures – to clarify that the responsible person for a block of flats must manage the fire risk of the building’s structure, cladding, balconies, windows and entrance doors – ensure it can never happen again.

Lord Greenhalgh (Conservative), Home Office Minister and the bill's sponsor in the Lords, opened the debate. 

Speakers included a former TUC General Secretary who worked with the Fire Brigades Union on fire safety and a former member of the London Fire and Civil Defence Authority.

Fire Safety Bill

This bill aims to

  • clarify that the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 applies to external walls (including cladding, balconies and windows) and individual flat entrance doors in multi-occupied residential buildings
  • ensure building owners, leaseholders or managers for multi-occupied residential buildings who are likely to be the responsible persons have assessed the fire safety risks of the premises for which they are responsible and taken necessary precautions
  • ensure Fire and Rescue Authorities have the relevant enforcement powers to hold owners or managers to account
  • complement the existing powers local authorities have to take enforcement action against building owners and managers under the Housing Health and Safety Rating System
  • support the Government’s intended action to implement the specific recommendations made in the Grenfell Tower Inquiry Phase One Report.

Image: Bernard Hermant: Unsplash