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FRA guidance withdrawn after legal action threat

MS
BY Michelle Sneyd
Health & Safety

The British Standards Institution (BSI) has withdrawn new guidance on fire risk assessments (FRAs) after a family who lost a member in the Grenfell Tower fire threatened legal action.

 

In a letter to the Home Office, bereaved family members from Grenfell threatened to sue the government over its ‘misleading and inadequate’ decision not to implement inquiry recommendations relating to disabled people.

The letter warned that legal action would be taken if the proposal that all vulnerable high-rise residents ‘be provided with a written evacuation plan’ was not fully implemented.

The consultation last July rowed back on the personal emergency evacuation plan (PEEP) proposal, and instead recommended such plans ‘be drawn up only for those in buildings with a waking watch’. The government justified this on the basis that there was a ‘lack of personnel available to assist’ evacuations in residential buildings.

The legal action was settled outside of court, with the Home Office agreeing to rerun a specific consultation on PEEPs and pay the family’s legal costs, but also required the disclosure of notes and minutes from the Fire Industry Association’s (FIA’s) special interest group meeting on 22 April.

These documents showed that both the government and a series of industry representatives ‘watered down’ recommendations relating to disabled people from the inquiry, after an industry lobbying group described the recommendations as ‘costly and impractical’. Inside Housing has now reported the BSI has withdrawn new FRA guidance – PAS 79-2 – pending further consideration’.

Inside Housing noted that the Home Office has recently relaunched a consultation on PEEPs.  BSI say they ‘would like the Steering Group to re-visit points raised during the public consultation relevant to persons with a disability and intends to further consult with experts in this field.’

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