After the Grenfell disaster, building safety has become a hot topic. This is not only relevant for fire safety but for the general safety of everyone working or living in the building. Facilities managers, often contracted either by the construction company or the management company, play a key role in providing this kind of safety.
What are the responsibilities of facilities managers?
Facilities managers have a diverse set of far reaching responsibilities. These include all building and facility related services such as dealing with security, parking, cleaning, catering, technology, utilities, and budgeting. The most important aspects in this context are meeting safety regulations and health and security standards.
Companies providing facilities management as a service (FM providers) could possibly be in breach of the Regulatory Reform Fire Safety Order (2005) – applicable to England and Wales – if they fail to meet their obligations for maintenance and building safety.
This obligation creates a responsibility to the safe operation and control over the building. Unfortunately, many FM providers are unaware of the levels of responsibility and liability surrounding these obligations.
The FM providers’ responsibility does not relieve the outsourcing organisation of their overarching responsibility for compliance, but they are assisting with it. Within this framework, the FM provider must be competent and meet any safety requirements, risk assessments and maintenance needs.
What does the current government consultation on building safety include?
In June 2019, the government published a consultation for a fundamental reform of building safety requirements. This builds on proposals in Dame Judith Hackitt’s recommendations in her ‘Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety’.
These recommendations include the concept of a duty holder. This is the person with clear responsibilities in all areas from the design through construction up to occupation of a building. Other important points are making sure that residents’ concerns are never ignored as well as stronger enforcements and sanctions in case of non-compliance with the new regime.
The consultation into building and fire regulation reform closes on 31 July 2019.
The document talks about the ‘golden thread’ of information. This is a digital record of all relevant building information from the beginning of the building works. It also includes a Fire and Emergency File. Both will need to be maintained throughout the life cycle of the building.
Another important factor is that safety must never be compromised for the benefit of cutting costs. We must learn from the lessons that Grenfell provided.
How MGR Consultants can help
If you have any questions regarding your building’s fire regulations or health and safety matters, we provide a complimentary 30-minute telephone consultation. You can either call us on 0116 260 8630 or 0782 4442159 or enter your details on our Contact Page and we will get in touch with you.