Are you prepared for the new building safety standards?

If you’re in facilities management, are you ready for the new building safety standards? Regulatory bodies expect the sector to be ready to undertake the remedial activity and meet compliance needs ahead of new legislation. These are the measures FM’s should be considering immediately.

Building safety: measure, review, improve

Not every building currently falls under the remit of the Building Safety Regulator. Developing an asset management plan will help prioritise works in line with new best practice guidelines.

As a result of the first phase of the Grenfell Tower Public Inquiry, key recommendations and guidance have been issued for safety related measures and necessary remediation. These include:

– Removing unsafe materials
– Remediating unsafe wall systems
– Updating fire risk assessments with particular focus on fire resistance of external cladding and fire doors
– Testing fire doors every 3 months in order to confirm that self-closing devices are working correctly
– Reviewing and testing fire fighting equipment and systems
– Reviewing emergency fire procedures including personal evacuation plans for any residents who need assistance

New statutory functions and duties

The new regime will see the creation of the statutory roles of Building Safety Manager and Accountable Person. And while these roles can be performed by legal entities, competent individuals will be required to perform the BSM role. In addition, the accountability of the AP is non-transferable.

Both roles will be required to be registered with the BSR, requiring your facilities management team to have the capacity and expertise for these roles.

A competence framework for the BSM role has already been developed. But your FM team will need a person with the skills and expertise to meet the specified competence requirements.

It’s well worth investing in upskilling and training for your entire team to raise awareness of the new liabilities and responsibilities. You’ll need to have sufficient funding and resources available to build the competence and capacity to fulfil the new statutory requirements.

Systems and information

– Sufficient information will be cascaded to the relevant people. They will then plan and implement actions that can be measured and evidenced to demonstrate that they meet the needs of the new regulatory body
– New information requirements include the safety case for fire and risk management, the digital ‘golden thread’ of building info and the emergency services information box.
– The implementation of a clear engagement strategy for residents and building users. This should include relevant fire safety information

If your FM team isn’t yet engaged in an information-gathering exercise, this is the time to start. You should also revisit or start developing and implementing an engagement strategy that meets the requirements of the new regulations.

Stay up to date

It’s vitally important that your facilities management team stays up to speed with all the developments as the new regime is implemented. The initial focus will be on structural and fire safety in all multi-occupied buildings exceeding 18 metres or six storeys.

Facilities management teams in the sector will need to focus on developing capacity and skills, engagement and information gathering exercises before the full implementation of the new regime.