The government’s review into building and fire safety regulations is ‘missing the opportunity’ to assess fire safety regulations across all types of housing, according to the Residential Landlords Association (RLA).
That is the concern raised by the trade association for landlords in its formal response to the interim report of the independent review of building regulations and fire safety, led by Dame Judith Hackitt.
In its response to the review, the RLA warns: “we are concerned about the Interim Report’s focus on new build and high rise residential buildings, largely to the exclusion of the existing stock of smaller residential accommodation.”
The RLA say it wasn’t to see what it sees as ‘contradictory’ and ‘outdated’ fire safety guidance across all housing to be updated to make it clearer for landlords to ensure their properties are safe and improve enforcement and risk assessments by the authorities, in order to stop rogue landlords exploiting potential loopholes caused by overlapping regulations.
The confused and split responsibilities of the fire services and local authorities in relation to bedsit accommodation and blocks of flats are of particular concern to the RLA.
Richard Jones, policy consultant to the RLA, commented: “Grenfell Tower was a tragedy that must never be repeated. It is vital that the Government’s review looks at fire and building safety issues in the round, and not just tower blocks.
“Ever growing volumes of complex and sometimes difficult to understand guidance causes confusion among tenants, landlords, local authorities and the fire services.
“We need much clearer guidance, in line with current standards, to develop a strengthened risk assessment regime with much more transparent lines of accountability about who is responsible for enforcing what. Standards for high rise blocks clearly need to be revisited and changed.
“We owe it to the memory of all those who lost their lives, and their loved ones, to get this right once and for all.”