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Effectiveness of the RR(FS)O 2005

London Fire Brigade’s Adreena Parkin-Coates offered a review of a study conducted by BRE global into the effectiveness of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order.

The review considered whether the regulation was fit for purpose and aimed to identify possible problem areas and investigate the potential for other regulatory frameworks, while ensuring there were no additional burdens on business. Some 92 organisations were contacted for comment, including Building Control bodies, the FSF, fire consultants and registered social landlords.

While overall the review found that the RR(FS)O was effective, it highlighted a gap in the legislation with regards to specialist housing and low risk common areas in housing. Some confusion was identified as a result of the Housing Act where fire was just one of 29 hazards to be assessed and fire & rescue services do not have primary enforcement powers.

The study also questioned the competency of fire risk assessors (FRAs) and enforcers, recommended that this should be reviewed. It called for a register for competent FRAs, with all FRAs and enforcers trained to recognised fire safety qualifications. It also called for a review of the existing DCLG guides to bring them up to date and consider the impact of modern methods of construction.

Following on from the study, work within CFOA is already underway to develop a Best Practice Guide for specialist housing.