Insights

Jonathan Woodroffe

Published 16 March 2023
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New Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022

The new Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022 (the Regulations) came into force on 23rd January 2023.

They were introduced under article 24 of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (Fire Safety Order) to implement the majority of recommendations made to Government in the Grenfell Tower Inquiry Phase 1 report.

The regulations made it a requirement in law for “responsible persons” of high-rise blocks of flats to provide information to Fire and Rescue Services to assist them to plan and, if needed, provide an operational response.

The new regulations also require responsible persons in multi-occupied residential buildings which are high-rise buildings and those above 11 metres in height, to provide additional safety measures.

Who is a “responsible person?

The responsible person is the person who is responsible for the safety of themselves and others who use a regulated premises.

This is normally a building owner, or in residential properties, any other person in control of the premises. The responsible person is the person on whom most of the duties set out in the Fire Safety Order are imposed. This could apply to you if you own, lease or manage the building. There can be more than one responsible person.

 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).

What are the new duties?

The duties vary slightly depending on the size and nature of the building.

High-rise residential buildings

In high-rise residential buildings, responsible persons are required to:

  • Provide their local Fire and Rescue Service with an up-to-date electronic building plan and ensure a copy is left in an information box on site.
  • Provide the local Fire and Rescue Service information about the design and materials of a high-rise building’s external wall system and inform the Fire and Rescue Service of any material changes to these walls as well as the level of risk and what’s been done to minimise the risk.
  • Undertake monthly checks on the operation of lifts intended for use by firefighters, and evacuation lifts in the building. There are reporting requirements in respect of defective lifts or equipment.
  • Install and maintain a secure information box in the building.
  • Install signage visible in low light or smoky conditions that identifies flat and floor numbers.

Residential buildings with storeys over 11 metres

In residential buildings with storeys over 11 metres in height, responsible persons are required to:

  • Undertake annual checks of flat entrance doors and quarterly checks of all fire doors in the common parts.

Multi-occupied residential buildings

In all multi-occupied residential buildings with 2 or more sets of domestic premises, responsible persons are required to provide relevant fire safety instructions to their residents and provide residents with information relating to the importance of fire doors in fire safety.

Commentary

If there is more than one responsible person, then it’s important that you clarify who is going to be responsible for these new requirements. The above is a summary of the regulations only and anyone who is a responsible person needs to ensure they are fully familiar with the new responsibilities. Failure to comply with the regulations carries serious penalties including unlimited fines and/or imprisonment.

For more information or to discuss the implications of the new Fire Safety (England) Regulations for you, please get in touch.

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