Last reviewed 11 June 2021
Emphasising its determination to continue to learn the lessons from the Grenfell Tower fire, the Home Office has launched a consultation into proposals to implement the Grenfell Inquiry’s recommendations on Personal Emergency Evacuation Plans (PEEPs).
These would require a change in law to place new requirements on owners or managers of multi-occupied high-rise residential buildings.
Details of the consultation can be found at GOV.UK and the deadline for submitting comments is 19 July 2021.
“We aim to implement PEEPs by the introduction of regulations through a power in article 24 of the Fire Safety Order,” Home Office explains. “The Fire Safety Order is the cornerstone of fire safety legislation and extends to England and Wales, regulating fire safety in non-domestic premises, including workplaces and the non-domestic parts of multi-occupied residential buildings.”
The consultation makes clear that PEEPs in the workplace seek to provide people who cannot get themselves out of a building unaided with a bespoke escape plan in a fire emergency.
However, PEEPs in a residential setting need to reflect the fact that high-rise residential buildings are different, built at different times, using different techniques.
Some will have a “stay put” strategy in place, but others will require “simultaneous evacuation” in the event of a fire. Some buildings may employ staff as caretakers or security staff, others will not.
Building on existing provisions in the Fire Safety Order, the Home Office proposes to place additional legal requirements on the Responsible Person (which includes building owners and managers) and on those who otherwise have control of the building (or part thereof) under the Order.
Those persons currently have overall responsibility to put in place general fire precautions to ensure the building is safe, as are people in it.
The consultation notes that there are varying reasons that residents in high-rise buildings may need to consider using a PEEP, including (but not limited to): people with mobility impairments (including wheelchair users); people with a cognitive impairment; and people with a hearing or visual impairment.
“Our proposals recognise that some of these may not wish to have or decide that they do not need to have a PEEP,” the Home Office states.