Late last year (2022) the UK government introduced new regulations to incorporate recommendations from Phase 1 of the Grenfell Tower Inquiry. Anyone who is a Responsible Person or has any type of responsibility for fire safety should be aware of the changes and understand how the new regulations impact their duties.
The commencement date of the Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022 was 23 January 2023, and the Regulations include an extension of duties detailed in the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.
Who needs to know about the Regulations?
The Regulations apply to people who are designated as Responsible Persons for any building which contains two or more sets of domestic premises, and which contains common parts through which residents would need to evacuate in the case of an emergency.
The Regulations do not apply within individual flats but do apply to:
- Flat entrance doors
- Communal corridors and stairways
- Walls and floors that separate any domestic premises from other domestic premises
- Non-domestic areas of the building
- External walls of the building
The main objective of the extension of duties is to prevent a tragedy like Grenfell from ever happening again, with a focus on the fire safety of high-rise buildings but the new duties will also improve fire safety in other applicable buildings.
What were the requirements for the Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022?
Responsible Persons for multi-occupied residential buildings must make themselves aware of and undertake steps to comply with the Regulations, with actions which include:
- Providing fire safety instructions to residents.
- Providing information related to the importance of fire doors in fire safety.
- Annual and quarterly fire door checks for buildings over 11 metres in height.
Responsible Persons of high-rise residential buildings (over 18m or 7 storeys in height) must:
- Provide local fire rescue service with up-to-date building floor plans in electronic format and a hard copy (which includes fire-fighting equipment locations) in a secure information box on site.
- Provide information to the fire rescue service regarding the design and materials of a high-rise building’s external wall system. Any material changes to these walls must be reported to the fire rescue service.
- Perform monthly checks on lifts that are intended for firefighters and evacuation lifts.
- Conduct monthly checks on key firefighting equipment.
- Install a secure information box containing the Responsible Person’s contact details and the building floorplans.
- Install appropriate wayfinding signage that is visible in low light or smoky conditions.
Support for continued compliance with the Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022
The Protection Policy and Reform Unit (PPRU) and the Home Office have created resources that will help Responsible Persons to continue to comply with the Regulations. The Fire Risk Assessment Prioritisation Tool is a very useful resource to support the risk assessment process.
The Home Office has also supplied a series of factsheets as guidance for the Regulations:
- Overview Fact Sheet
- Secure Information Box Fact Sheet
- Design and Materials of External Walls Fact Sheet
- Floor Plans and Building Plan Fact Sheet
- Lifts and Essential Fire-fighting Equipment Fact Sheet
- Wayfinding Signage Face Sheet
- Information to Residents Fact Sheet
- Fire Doors Fact Sheet
If you would like some expert advice on fire safety and what the new regulations mean for you and your company, Bellrock is here to help. We can support facilities managers and any other Responsible Persons in risk assessments, mitigation of risks and all other compliance requirements.
Contact us today and we can work with you to ensure you are compliant with the Regulations.