Following the Grenfell Tower Inquiry’s initial recommendations on Personal Emergency Evacuation Plans, otherwise known as ‘PEEPs’, the Government ran a consultation on proposals for new legal requirements (to be imposed on owners and managers of multi-occupied high-rise residential buildings) to undertake PEEPs for residents in certain circumstances. The consultation also impacted on associated Government guidance on the issue.
The consultation ran from 8 June 2021 to 19 July 2021 and can be accessed here.
While we are still awaiting the Government’s formal response to the consultation, on Monday 4 April 2022 Lord Greenhalgh (Minister of State for Building Safety and Fire) provided an update on the Building Safety Bill to the House of Lords and stated:
“The Government ran a consultation on the issue of personal emergency evacuation plans—PEEPs—in July 2021. The consultation has made clear the substantial difficulties of mandating PEEPs in high-rise residential buildings around practicality, proportionality and safety. On practicality, how can you evacuate a mobility-impaired person from a tall building before the professionals from the fire and rescue service arrive? On proportionality, how much is it reasonable to spend to do this at the same time as we seek to protect residents and taxpayers from excessive costs? On safety, how can you ensure that an evacuation of mobility-impaired people is carried out in a way that does not hinder others in evacuating or the fire and service in fighting the fire?
Given these difficulties, the Government are committing to undertake a new consultation. While our response is still being finalised, this will include a proposal called “emergency evacuation information-sharing” or EEIS. The Government will publish our response to the PEEPs consultation and our new consultation on EEIS and commence the Fire Safety Act 2021 on the same day next month, which is as soon as practical after the pre-election period…”
While there are still many unknowns, it would appear the Government is likely to move away from the proposals outlined in the 2021 consultation and will be proposing a new ‘information sharing’ requirement for building owners. As ever, much will depend on the detail and we will have to wait for the proposals as part of the Government’s response (and new consultation) which is expected sometime in May 2022. The Minister’s comments also appear to confirm the Government’s intention to commence the Fire Safety Act 2021 at the same time too.