What are the new fire safety regulations?
Following the Grenfell Tower Inquiry, the UK government issued new fire safety regulations, which came into force on January 23rd, 2023. The purpose of these new fire safety regulations is to improve the safety of blocks of flats in a way that is proportionate to the risk of fire.
The new regulations make it a legal requirement for those responsible for high-rise residential buildings to provide up-to-date information to Fire and Rescue Services that will enable them to plan and if necessary, provide an effective response in the event of a fire.
It also stipulates that those responsible for multi-occupational residential buildings, which are high-rise and/or above 11 metres in height, must provide additional safety measures.
What information must all multi-occupational buildings provide?
In all multi-occupational buildings, the responsible person* must make sure residents have fire safety instructions and infomation on the importance of fire doors and their maintenance.
You must follow the Fire Safety (England) Regulations if you are a responsible person for any building, which contains more than two sets of domestic premises or common parts that residents would need to pass through in order to evacuate in the event of a fire.
The regulations apply to:
- Communal areas such as corridors, stairways, etc
- Entrance doors
- Walls and floors that separate residences
- Non-domestic areas such as gyms, laundry rooms, etc
- External walls, including windows and attachments, such as balconies.
What information must be provided as part of the fire safety regulations UK for high-rise buildings?
Those responsible for high-rise buildings i.e. those more than seven storeys or 18m in height, must provide Fire and Rescue Services with the following:
- Building plans – Fire and Rescue Services must be given an electronic version, while a hard copy must be placed in a secure box on site
- External wall systems – FRS must be given information about the design and materials of the external wall system along with the level of risk they pose
- Lifts and fire fighting equipment – evacuation lifts must be checked monthly and any defects reported
- Information boxes – a secure information box must be installed and maintained. It should contain details of the Responsible Person (the person who is responsible for the safety of the building and the residents) and hard copies of floor plans
- Signage – signage that is easy to see in low light conditions must be installed that marks flat and floor numbers in stairwells
What information must be provided as part of the fire safety regulations in buildings of 11m and more?
In any residential building of 11 or more, the responsible persons must:
- Check fire doors quarterly
- Provide fire safety instructions
- Provide fire door safety information
What buildings do the new fire regulations apply to?
The fire regulations apply to all buildings with two or more flats and a common area. There are more regulations in place for high-rise buildings, i.e. those over 18m in height or seven storeys. This is so that the fire services have all the information they need in order to respond effectively to the most complex fires.
Residents of all blocks of flats and other multi-occupational buildings, will be given fire safety instructions in addition to information on the importance of maintaining fire doors.
The new regulations also remind responsible persons of their existing duties, which include taking general fire precautions, making sure there are clearly marked emergency routes and exits, and putting procedures in place for serious and imminent danger and danger areas.
You can read more about the duties of responsible persons under the Fire Safety (England) Regulations in the Home Office document.
If you want more information on the new fire safety regulations and how they affect you, give the team at Cladding Consulting a call.
* Responsible person definition – the responsible person in multi-occupied residential buildings is the person deemed to have control of the building. It can be managing agents, the building owner, building manager, landlord, or anyone else responsible for control of the premises.
The managing agents are generally the responsible person.
The accountable person, i.e with ultimate responsibility under these regulations, is the building owner – this could be a residents’ freehold company or a landlord.