CIH Scotland welcomes consultation on strengthening fire safety in high rise domestic buildings
Responding to the Scottish Government consultation on strengthening fire safety in high rise domestic buildings, the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) Scotland has welcomed the publication of revised fire safety guidance for landlords but has called for the Scottish Government to ensure that fire safety messages for residents are clear and consistent in the wake of the Grenfell Tower fire in 2017.
In its response, CIH Scotland cited concerns that information proposed in the fire safety advice for high rise residents around the ‘stay put policy’ does not match with the current advice from the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS), and that this has the potential to create confusion for residents.
CIH Scotland has also called for the fire safety advice to include a clear rationale for the stay put policy to ensure that residents fully understand its purpose and to make it clear that they will not be prevented from evacuating their homes in the event of a fire in a neighbouring property if they choose to do so.
CIH Scotland has also welcomed a renewed focus on the importance of keeping common areas clear to avoid the risk of fire spreading but has warned that while many landlords make a concerted effort to outline the rules in tenancy agreements and other communication, these can be particularly challenging to enforce.
Commenting on the response, CIH Scotland’s policy and practice officer Susanne Flynn said:
“We recognise that fire safety regulations are already stringently applied in Scotland but CIH Scotland is supportive of any measures which seek to improve understanding and increase awareness of fire safety for both tenants and landlords.
“The publication of revised guidance also provides landlords and other building managers with a timely opportunity to review their existing fire safety measures. An awareness raising campaign to highlight fire safety risks in common areas is also a welcome step but this must be clear about the approach taken to keeping common areas clear and why this is so important for residents.”
Notes to Editors
1. The Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) is the independent voice for housing and the home of professional standards. Our goal is simple – to provide housing professionals with the advice, support and knowledge they need to be brilliant. CIH is a registered charity and not-for-profit organisation. This means that the money we make is put back into the organisation and funds the activities we carry out to support the housing sector. We have a diverse membership of people who work in both the public and private sectors, in 20 countries on five continents across the world. Further information is available at www.cih.org
2. CIH Scotland’s full response to the consultation can be viewed here: http://www.cih.org/publication-free/display/vpathDCR/templatedata/cih/publication-free/data/Scotland/Response_to_high_rise_fire_safety_consultation
3. For further information, please contact Susanne Flynn, policy and practice officer at firstname.lastname@example.org