Accueil » Resources » The ESSOC law for fire safety
The ESSOC law, also known as the law for a state serving a society of trust, is a French law enacted on August 10, 2018. Its objective is to simplify relations between the administration and citizens, companies and associations.
The acronym ESSOC stands for “State at the service of a trustworthy society“, and this law is part of a process to modernize the French administration in order to make it more accessible and more efficient for citizens and businesses.
In particular, the ESSOC law includes measures aimed at reducing administrative constraints for businesses, facilitating administrative procedures for private individuals and strengthening the rights of users in their dealings with the authorities. It also aims to encourage innovation and experimentation within the French administration.
Among the flagship measures of the ESSOC law are:
The implementation of a right to error for individuals and companies, which allows them to correct an error made in a declaration or application without being penalized.
The possibility for companies to conclude agreements with the administration to simplify their relations and reporting obligations.
The generalization of mediation to settle disputes between the administration and citizens or companies.
The creation of a right to disconnect for employees, which allows them to disconnect from professional digital tools outside working hours.
The simplification of authorization procedures for construction projects, in particular by allowing the issuance of a tacit building permit in case of non-response from the administration.
Prior to the law, fire safety regulations were quite strict and could be difficult to implement in some buildings. For example, for category 4 and 5 ERP (establishments receiving the public), it was mandatory to install a mechanical or natural smoke extraction system, even if other fire safety measures were in place, such as fire doors, smoke detectors, etc.
The ESSOC law therefore introduced a simplification measure by allowing ERP to be exempted from certain obligations with respect to the regulations. This exemption must be justified by a fire safety study carried out by an expert and approved by the competent safety commission. The justification is based on three points: smoke extraction, stability of the load-bearing elements, and ease of intervention. This simplification is based on the notion of equivalent effect solution (EES).
The law restricts the scope of possible derogations by specifying that only the means requirements can be affected by an equivalent solution. Thus, the project owner is required to prove that the basic rule cannot be implemented and must also justify that the results obtained are equivalent to those resulting from the application of the basic rule.
It is important to emphasize that the exemption of smoke removal must not compromise the safety of people present in the ERP in case of fire. The implementation of other fire safety measures must therefore be carefully evaluated to ensure a sufficient level of safety. In some cases, it may be advisable to install a smoke extraction system to ensure quick and safe evacuation in case of fire.
In summary, the ESSOC law introduced a simplification measure for the rules relating to smoke extraction in category 4 and 5 ERP, by allowing an exemption from installation if other fire safety measures are in place and this exemption is justified by a fire safety study. However, personal safety remains a priority and the implementation of adequate security measures must be carefully evaluated.
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