New Guidance for Electrical Issues in High Risk Buildings

The Electrical Safety Roundtable (ESR) is a leading industry forum dedicated to providing innovative research and policy solutions to government and industry.

Following the appeal from Dame Judith Hackitt for industry to act now, rather than wait for regulations to improve safety within higher-risk buildings (HRBs), it has published new guidance — How to manage electrical systems within higher-risk buildings.

Available at www.electricalsafetyroundtable.co.uk, the 100-page document was created in collaboration with over 25 organisations with expertise in this sector.

It is designed to help the industry to review its current practices around managing and maintaining electrical systems in HRBs and to consider how they can improve for the safety of residents.

Welcoming the guide, Peter Baker, Chief Inspector of Buildings at the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), said: “Making high-rise buildings safer for residents is about understanding what can go wrong, how it can lead to a fire or structural problem, and what needs to be in place to prevent a serious incident and reduce its impact on people”.

Measures include having electrical and other building systems properly designed, installed, and maintained by competent people, and making sure safety systems work when they are needed.

The guide sets out a number of key recommendations for HRB owners to consider when planning their approach to managing electrical systems. These include:

  • having a robust risk assessment in place that is reviewed and updated prior to any electrical work being undertaken in an HRB
  • the building owner having a procedure in place so that each occupant receives a clear explanation of the process for agreeing to any DIY electrical work
  • ensuring a process is in place to manage requests for increasing electrical load demand
  • having an Emergency Planning document in place detailing what is and what is not considered an emergency and which can be available for emergency services to access remotely. A plan of the electrical supply configuration must be included.

Encouraging all those involved in the management of buildings to use this guidance, Dame Judith Hackitt, said: “It shines a spotlight on the importance of electrical safety in higher-risk buildings and the complexity of effective management. This guidance will support the industry to review its current practices and consider how they can improve for the safety of residents”.

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