FOCUS Fire Sector Summit

would need to be considered by, rather than just amended in, parliament. Many are unlikely to be ‘directly applicable’;

we will ‘need to consider the future relationship’. The government’s Great Repeal Bill repeals the EU Communities Act that ‘provides for the supremacy of EU law’ and currently ensures that all EU laws are converted to UK law. This ‘elegance of consistency’ means that a ‘new category of law’ will have to be introduced post Brexit with respect to how EU laws will be changed to UK laws. The sheer scale of the task was illuminated by

the fact that 52,741 EU laws need to be converted. Mr Passey stated that putting these straight into UK law is the ‘simplest and quickest’ way to ‘maintain continuity’. However, 800 to 1,000 require changes, taking ‘10 to 20 years’. As a consequence, the government introduced

British trade, it would not be at risk, but the picture is different if focused on European trade. There are currently 189 UK based EU notified

bodies, employing 4,500 staff and with around 20,000 customers, therefore around £2bn in business is ‘at risk’, and if there was no deal, products that meet EU requirements will be able to be placed on the UK market if compliant, but on a time limited basis. UK products will be able to be sold if the UK body has been third party tested, though this would require a new UK CPR mark. This will mean more costs to recertify and become newly compliant, with exporters needing to retest and recertify products, and the risk to business in the short term being ‘very high’. UK bodies will no longer be EU notified bodies, but if they have an EU base, they can arrange for relevant files and certificates to be transferred, and products re marked with that body’s four digit number.

All these amendments are ‘big, big changes’,

and Mr Pope warned that post Brexit will be ‘vitally important’ for UK businesses, because we ‘really don’t know what it means for us’. Companies ‘must prepare for the worst, and no transition agreement – you cannot be prepared for Brexit if you secretly believe it will not happen’. Mr Passey focused on potential regulatory and

legislative impacts, but cautioned that ‘nobody knows’ what will happen. The ‘changing route’ of EU laws and their transposition into UK law will change, as directives currently go though parliament and become UK law. After Brexit, regulations will ‘no longer directly apply’, and

‘Henry VIII clauses’ or statutory instruments (SIs) that allow ministers to change legislation ‘on a whim’, and while alterations will be required, Mr Passey warned these ‘provide the opportunity for other changes to be made’. With no parliamentary approval needed, SIs can ‘unravel other things’, and so the fire sector will need to implement ‘effective surveillance’ over fire safety laws. European Court of Justice rulings will continue

to apply, but later, we will ‘have decisions to make’, and could be ‘out of line’ if these are not made in time. It was ‘unlikely’ that trade arrangements would ‘impact on product safety’, but the ‘complexity of changes’ meant surveillance was necessary. Mr Passey noted the sector is facing a Brexit

where ‘a lot needs to change, but we are facing post Grenfell changes too’, and so the ‘need to be vigilant’ should be coupled with leadership to prevent ‘unravelling’. One positive was that the sector ‘may have the opportunity to make changes’.

NFCC activity

NFCC chair Roy Wilsher showed how it is supporting workstreams developing policy post Hackitt. Since Grenfell, NFCC has been involved in remediation work, coordinating visits to confirmed ACM buildings in consultation with the IRG, HSE, Royal Institute of British Architects, BSI and BRAC. It gives fire engineering advice to the Joint Inspection Team set up to target building owners who are ‘not remediating quickly enough’. In October, he advised, the government distributed its first tranche of £400m to replace unsafe cladding on social sector high rise housing in England. In addition, expert advice has been provided

to building owners on partial cladding, large scale testing and fire door replacement; as well as interim guidance such as for waking watch arrangements in buildings with a single staircase. Lobbying to extend the HRRB definition (buildings over 18m) to any building where assistance might be


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