The Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022 (the Regulations) came into force on 23rd January 2023 and implement changes to fire safety legislation, as recommended in the Phase 1 Report of the Grenfell Tower Inquiry. The Regulations impose a range of new duties on ‘responsible persons’ of all multi-occupied residential buildings in England. The extent of the duties is determined by the building’s height, with more stringent measures for high-rise buildings.
Which buildings do the Regulations apply to?
They apply to all multi-occupied residential buildings with common parts (including residential parts of mixed-use buildings and student accommodation).
Are you the ‘responsible person’?
You are a responsible person if you have ‘control’ of a building - that could be because you own, lease or manage it. There could be more than one responsible person, and it is important to ensure that you have identified who will ensure the new duties are complied with.
What are the responsible person’s new duties?
- For all multi-occupied residential buildings (with two or more sets of domestic premises and common parts) to:
- provide key fire safety instructions to residents, including how to report a fire and what to do in the event of a fire, based on the evacuation strategy for the building;
- provide residents with information relating to the importance and operation of fire doors;
- provide this key information annually.
- For residential buildings above 11 metres, to undertake annual checks of flat entrance doors and quarterly checks of fire doors in common parts
- For high-rise residential buildings (i.e. over 18 metres in height or with 7 or more storeys) to:
- install and maintain a secure information box containing the name and contact details of the responsible person and hard copies of the building floor plans;
- provide the local Fire & Rescue Service with up to date electronic building floor plans and ensure a hard copy is contained in the information box;
- prepare a record of information regarding the design and materials in the external wall system (this includes the windows, balconies, cladding, insulation and fixings), together with details of any risks and mitigating steps taken. This should also be provided to the local Fire & Rescue Service;
- undertake monthly checks on the operation of firefighting and evacuation lifts and check the functionality of other key pieces of firefighting equipment. Defects will need to be reported to the local Fire & Rescue Service as soon as possible after detection if the fault cannot be fixed within 24 hours. The checks should be recorded and made available to residents;
- install signage that is visible in low light or smoky conditions which identifies flat and floor numbers in the stairwells of relevant buildings.
The Regulations implement significant changes to fire safety requirements, particularly for high-rise buildings, and building owners and managers must take steps to comply now. Failure to do so could result in an unlimited fine and/or imprisonment for up to two years.