Daisy Cooper, the MP for St Albans, joined the Fire Safety Bill Committee in the House of Commons in a bid to shape the law governing multi-occupied residential buildings in the wake of the Grenfell tragedy.
The Fire Safety Bill proposes changes to the Fire Safety Order 2005 to clarify who is responsible for managing and reducing the risk of fire for the structure and external walls of flats and similar buildings, including cladding, balconies and windows, entrance doors and fire doors.
Daisy tabled amendments to the bill, which was reviewed line by line by the Fire Safety Bill Committee before returning to the full House of Commons to be voted into law.
Her proposed amendments sought to:
- Encourage the government to set out who should take financial responsibility for remediation costs for essential fire safety work
- Set up a public register of fire risk assessments so would-be renters and owners can check the fire safety status of their potential new home, such as the one used to register domestic Energy Performance Certificates (EPC)
- Establish a public register of fire risk assessors so home owners can verify that fire assessors are qualified to conduct compulsory checks, and enable government and industry to assess the numbers required to be trained.
The issue of flammable cladding similar to that used on Grenfell Tower has also been raised by apartment block residents in St Albans. One couple were so worried about delays in surveying the materials on their property that they contacted Daisy through their residents’ association.
Daisy Cooper said:
“Thousands of leaseholders and tenants up and down the country are being kept in a permanent state of anxiety while waiting to hear whether their property is safe. On top of that individual leaseholders are facing bills of up to £20,000 per flat for remedial work and hikes in their service charges. Many are unable to sell while the uncertainty persists.
“The First Safety Bill should empower the fire and rescue services to take enforcement action and hold building owners to account. I am pleased that by speaking up for leaseholders on the committee, I have secured commitments from the Government to introduce important fire safety registers, albeit at a later stage, and to provide ministerial-level clarity that big housing owners should not shirk their responsibility and pass the financial buck to leaseholders.”
The Fire Safety Bill: https://services.parliament.uk/bills/2019-21/firesafety.html