News

Review of LACORS fire safety guidance underway

Monday, September 2, 2019

Arrangements are underway to review and update the LACORS national fire safety guidance that is used by local authorities, fire and rescue authorities, landlords and agents to understand and interpret fire safety requirements in private rented accommodation.

LACORS fire safety guidance 2008

The guidance was originally published by LACORS (Local Authorities Coordinators of Regulatory Services) in 2008. The non-statutory guidance was developed in partnership with a range of organisations including the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health, Chief Fire Officers Association and national HMO Network. It contains a Ministerial Foreword that acknowledged government support and is available on the gov.uk website. Copies can also be downloaded here.

Whilst it remains the key reference document when interpreting fire safety requirements under the Housing Act 2004 and the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, over 10 years have passed since publication and the guidance needs updating to reflect changes in British Standards and fire safety policy.

Part of the challenge lies in the demise of LACORS as a consequence of local government spending cuts. The role of LACORS in supporting local authority regulatory services has since been subsumed within the Local Government Association (LGA) who own the guidance.

On 30 July 2019, a stakeholder meeting was held in London, facilitated by the National Landlords Association, to kickstart the review process. Organisations attending the meeting included local authorities, fire and rescue authorities, landlord and letting agent associations, government officials and London Property Licensing.

Phase I of the project involves collating comments and suggestions on aspects of the guidance that need updating. Feedback is being invited from all interested parties including individual council officers, landlords and agents. A form has been development for this purpose which can be downloaded at the end of this article.

Completed forms should be emailed to Gavin Dick at the NLA (Gavin.Dick@landlords.org.uk) no later than 1 October 2019.

For phase II, the intention is to establish an editorial group to review all the feedback and propose revisions to the guidance. The membership and terms of reference for the editorial group are still to be confirmed.   
   
Richard Tacagni, MD, London Property Licensing commented:

Having chaired the project group that developed the original LACORS fire safety guidance, I very much welcome the proposal to review and update what remains an extremely useful guide. What we need is a refresh of the guidance rather than a complete rewrite.

For this project to succeed, it it vital that all key stakeholder groups are involved in the review process, including the LGA, CIEH and the National Fire Chiefs Council. Only by securing buy-in from all key stakeholders can we hope to secure government endorsement for any amended guidance”.

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