Our commitment to fire safety

Fire safety has always been a high priority for the council. Please see our Building Safety Pledge.

After the Grenfell Tower tragedy, we have been reviewing our fire safety systems and procedures.

All council housing blocks have an up to date fire risk assessment (FRA) in place.

Improving fire safety standards across the borough

We work with our housing partners and developers to ensure fire safety across the residential sector.

We work with the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUCH) to contact owners of buildings over 18 metres in height.

We find out what their buildings are cladded in. Where the cladding is of fire safety concern, we make sure it is acted upon and made safe.

We encourage building owners to apply to the £1billion non-Aluminium Composite Material (ACM) fund.

In December 2020, the government announced the Waking Watch Relief Fund. This can pay for common fire alarm systems in high-rise buildings with unsafe cladding. It removes or reduces the need for waking watch.

The initial funding of the Waking Watch Relief Fund was by the GLA in London. The fund re-opened again on 26th May 2021 for four more weeks. The DLUCH are now in charge of this this across England.

We are working hard to deliver fire safety improvements to our own housing stock.

We are also working with regional partners to lobby government for resources. These will support fire safety improvements across all dwellings and prepare for the Building Safety Bill.

Private landlords must ensure their properties are safe and free from health hazards. The National Residential Landlords Association have advice on how to rent a safe and secure home.

Fire incidents in Tower Hamlets

The London Fire Brigade is the busiest fire rescue service in the country.

You can see how many fire related incidents they have dealt with in Tower Hamlets.

What are the government’s proposals for fire and building safety?

The Fire Safety Act (2021) received Royal Assent on 29 April 2021. It is still to come into force. You can read about the Fire Safety Act on the government website.

The Building Safety Bill, in its current form, was introduced to the House of Commons on 5 July 2021.

Both the Fire Safety Act and the Building Safety Bill intend to greatly reduce fire risks. This will make sure that people in high-rise buildings feel safer in their homes.

They are a response to the Grenfell Tower tragedy – to stop such an event from ever happening again. They seek to minimise fire risks to make sure that high-rise buildings are managed properly.

What legislation covers fire safety for social housing?

The Housing Act (2004) identifies 29 categories of potential hazards. One of them is fire.

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (commonly known as the FSO) also applies to the common parts of multi-occupied residential housing.

It needs landlords or housing owners to carry out a Fire Risk Assessment. From that, they must take the correct measures the building needs.

The Fire Safety Act has yet to come into force (i.e., have legal effect). It will amend the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.

It will clarify how to apply the Order to specific parts of residential buildings.

Notably, to external walls and anything attached to them. This will have far reaching consequences for responsible persons (i.e., the duty holder). They must comply with the law.

What the Fire Safety Act (2021) achieve?

It will apply to all multi-occupied residential buildings (i.e., where there are "2 or more sets of domestic premises").

It will mend the Fire Safety Order (2005) to require all responsible persons to assess, manage and reduce the fire risks posed by the:

  • structure
  • external walls (including cladding, balconies, and windows)
  • any common part of the building (This includes all doors between domestic premises)

It will allow the Fire Service to take enforcement action where needed.

It also will let the government issue risk-based guidance.

It can be referred to as proof that someone has complied with the law or not.