Fire Protection Board

Fire Protection Board

Background

In anticipation of a new Building Safety regime following the Hackitt review and the want for greater assurance of protection activity and data collection, in July 2019 the then Police and Fire Minister, Nick Hurd, wrote to the Chair of the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC), Roy Wilsher, asking him to Chair a new Protection Board. The Minister’s objectives for the Board were:

  • to design a new assurance process for high risk buildings, including high-rise buildings with ACM cladding that have interim measures in place;
  • to lead work on improving overall standards of protection work;
  • to improve the information on protection; and
  • to design the longer-term protection model.

The Protection Board was subsequently announced in an address to Parliament by Robert Jenrick, the Secretary of State for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG), on 5th September 2019 and the Board met for the first time on 25th September 2019. The Board has joint governance between NFCC, MHCLG, Home Office and Local Government Association (LGA).

The Role of the Protection Board

The Board’s role is focused towards fire protection activity in England, and its initial priority is the creation and agreement of a standardised approach that can support English Fire and Rescue Services (FRSs) in monitoring how those responsible for high-rise residential buildings are managing fire safety measures. 

The Protection Board launched The Building Risk Review (BRR) Programme to understand and help reduce the fire risk in high-rise residential buildings.

The programme, supported by Government funding, aims to meet the ambition set out by the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government in September 2019 to, ‘significantly increase the pace of inspection activity across high rise residential and other high-risk buildings to ensure all have been inspected or reviewed by the end of 2021’

In March 2020, the Fire Protection Board’s first Building Risk Review (BRR) exercise (Phase one) focusing on ACM buildings was successfully completed by Fire and Rescue Services (FRSs). Phase two of the BRR will now begin to ensure all high rise residential and other high-risk buildings are inspected or reviewed by the end of December 2021.  In order to meet the Secretary of State’s commitment and the December 2021 deadline, the Fire Protection Board have agreed that FRSs will be able to use a combination of initial risk assessments, inspections, and desktop audits to provide information on a minimum data set agreed by the Board. This data set will then be shared with Government partners to inform other work across the Building Safety Programme, including the prioritisation of buildings in scope for safety cases under the new Building Safety Regulator.

Beyond this programme of work, the Board will provide further advice to Ministers, support FRSs and Fire and Rescue Authorities in escalating any critical issues, and provide a national forum to address other strategic operational related protection and building safety issues that it considers to be a priority.