The Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022 were introduced under article 24 of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 and were put in place to implement the recommendations made in the Grenfell Tower Inquiry phase 1 report. These regulations came into force on 23 January 2023 and apply specifically to properties in England. B P Collins’ property team explores what the regulations mean for building owners and managers.
In summary, the regulations made it a requirement for Responsible Persons, as defined below, of high-rise blocks of flats to provide certain information to Fire and Rescue Services including providing residents with fire safety instructions and information on the importance of fire doors. The information is intended to help them plan and, if needed, provide an effective operational response.
The regulations also impose specific legal obligations on Responsible Persons to provide additional safety measures for residential high-rise blocks, residential buildings with storeys over 11 metres in height and multi-occupied residential buildings with two or more sets of domestic premises, of which will be set out below.
The term ‘Responsible Person’ refers to the individual responsible for the safety of themselves and those who utilise a regulated premises. This can include building owners and building managers. It is crucial that the Responsible Person adheres to the requirements set out in these regulations.
It is also important to note that the regulations apply to existing buildings, and requirements for new buildings may be different.
High-Rise Residential Buildings
A high-rise residential building, as defined by the regulations, stands at a minimum height of 18 metres or a minimum of 7 storeys containing 2 or more domestic dwellings.
For Responsible Persons overseeing such properties, sections 4-8 of the regulations impose obligations on them as summarised below:
- To provide their local Fire and Rescue Service with up-to-date electronic building floor plans.
- To install and maintain a secure information box in the building to store a hard copy of the building floor plans and the contact details of the Responsible Person.
- To provide their local Fire and Rescue Service with information about the design and materials of the high-rise building’s external wall system and to inform the Fire and Rescue Service of any material change to the walls. This includes information on the level of risk and any mitigating steps taken.
- To undertake monthly checks on the operation of lifts intended for use by firefighters, and evacuation lifts in their building and check the functionality of other key pieces of firefighting equipment. They must report any defects to their local Fire and Rescue Service as soon as possible if the fault cannot be fixed within 24 hours and to keep sufficient records.
- To install signage visible in low light or smoky conditions that identifies flat and floor numbers in the stairwells of relevant buildings.
Residential Buildings with Storeys over 11 Metres
For Responsible Persons managing residential buildings with more than 11 metres in height, and additional safety measures for high-rise buildings, sections 9 and 10 of the regulations outline specific obligations, including:
- To undertake annual checks of flat entrance doors.
- To carry out quarterly checks of all fire doors in the common parts.
Multi-Occupied Residential Buildings
For multi-occupied residential buildings with two or more sets of domestic premises, including the workplaces and the common parts, and high-rise buildings, as per sections 9 and 10 of the regulations, the Responsible Person is required to:
- Provide relevant fire safety instructions to their residents, which will include instructions on how to report a fire and any other instruction which sets out what a resident must do once a fire has occurred, based on the evacuation strategy for the building.
- Provide residents with information relating to the importance of fire doors in fire safety.
It is important to note that the act is not intended to capture maisonettes where two flats exist within a converted house and there are no common parts.
Get in Touch with Our Property Team
At B P Collins, we acknowledge the complexity and significance of these regulations and are committed to assisting you in navigating them.
If you have any further questions or require assistance regarding the Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022, do not hesitate to contact our property team. We are here to ensure you adhere to the regulations, guaranteeing the safety and security of your premises and occupants.