INTRODUCTION TO FIRE SAFETY REGULATIONS
The Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022 were introduced on 18th May 2022 under Article 24 of the Fire Safety Order to implement many of the recommendations made to the government in the Grenfell Tower Inquiry Phase 1 report and came into force on 23rd January 2023.
There are duties for all multi-occupied residential buildings with two or more sets of domestic premises, with additional duties for those over 11 metres and 18 metres (or has at least seven storeys). The term 'high-rise residential buildings' is defined as:
• being at least 18 metres above ground level; or
• having at least seven storeys.
What duties does the Fire Safety Act impose?
Duties imposed by the Fire Safety (England) Regulations In ‘high-rise residential buildings’, responsible persons will be required to:
• provide their local Fire and Rescue Service (FRS) with: up-to-date electronic building floor plans;
o information about the design and materials of a high-rise building’s external wall system and inform the FRS of any material changes to these walls; and
o information in relation to the level of risk that the design and materials of the external wall structure gives rise to and any mitigating steps taken;
• install and maintain a secure information box in their building which must contain:
o the name and contact details of the responsible person;
o hard copies of the building floor plans; and o a single-page building plan which identifies key firefighting equipment;
• undertake monthly checks on the operation of:
o lifts intended for use by firefighters; o evacuation lifts; and o essential firefighting equipment;
• report any defective lifts or essential firefighting equipment to their local FRS if the fault cannot be fixed within 24 hours, and record the outcome of checks and make them available to residents; and
• install signage visible in low light or smoky conditions that identifies flat and floor numbers in the stairwells of relevant buildings.
The Act clarifies that where a building contains 2 or more sets of domestic premises, the Fire Safety Order applies to: the building's structure and external walls (including windows, balconies, cladding, insulation, and fixings) and any common parts.
What is the legislation?
These regulations will make 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 effective operational response.
Also, the regulations will require responsible persons in multi-occupied residential buildings which are high-rise buildings, as well as those above 11 metres in height, to provide additional safety measures.
In all multi-occupied residential buildings, the regulations require responsible persons to provide residents with fire safety instructions and information on the importance of fire doors. The regulations apply to existing buildings, and requirements for new buildings may be different.
In residential buildings with storeys over 11 metres in height, responsible persons will be required to:
1. Fire Doors: undertake annual checks of flat entrance doors and quarterly checks of all fire doors in the common parts, in all multi-occupied residential buildings with two or more sets of domestic premises.
2. Fire Safety Instructions: provide relevant fire safety instructions to 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.
3. Fire Door Information: provide residents with information relating to the importance of fire doors in fire safety.
How will this be enforced?
The Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022 are being laid under article 24 of the Fire Safety Order 2005. Regulations made under article 24 can impose requirements on responsible persons or others, including building owners and building managers, in relation to mitigating the risk to residents for specific premises.
The Fire Safety Order applies to all premises including workplaces and the common parts of all multi-occupied residential buildings. It already requires responsible persons where necessary to take certain steps to ensure the safety of residents.
Why have the regulations been introduced?
Following the Grenfell Tower Fire, the government established in August 2017 the Independent Grenfell Tower Inquiry. The Inquiry published its first Phase report in October 2019. This report made several recommendations, which the government, in principle, accepted on the day it was published.
Some of these recommendations were directed towards government and required a change in the law to implement. The Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022 will implement most of these recommendations.
The regulations sit alongside the Building Safety Act amendments to the Fire Safety Order, and the government’s update of supporting guidance issued under the Fire Safety Order aim to improve fire safety outcomes designed to protect the public from the risk of fire, by better supporting compliance and effective enforcement in all regulated premises.
When will these regulations apply?
These regulations will come into force on 23 January 2023.
Definition of 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.
Why parts of these regulations are limited to high-rise buildings
The Inquiry recommendations referred mostly to high-rise buildings. 18 metres (or at least seven storeys) is the height which has, in England, been commonly used to define a high-rise building.
Limiting those parts of the regulations which require responsible persons to share information about their building electronically to Fire and Rescue Services ensures that the Fire Service has the information it needs to respond to potentially the most complex fires. Regardless of the height of the residential building, residents of all blocks of flats and other multi-occupied residential buildings with common parts will be given fire safety instructions as well as information on the importance of looking after fire doors, to help make them feel safer in their own homes.
What action will K.C. Estate Management Ltd take?
K.C. Estate Management Ltd will create a separate app available to all leaseholders/tenants detailing what actions will be taken to comply with the new regulations; some measures will require the full cooperation of leaseholders.
If you require the information in a different format, you can make a request to the Management office, who will be able to provide a copy in the format you require.