What are the new fire safety regulations?
Do you know that new Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022 came into effect on 23 January 2023 to implement the majority of recommendations made following the Grenfell Tower Inquiry Phase 1 report?
This is an important change in fire safety regulations for multi-occupancy and high-rise buildings in England, where compliance is key. In these new regulations it details that those who are responsible persons of high-rise blocks of flats should provide information to Fire and Rescue Services to assist them to plan and, if needed, provide an effective operational response. Plus, they require responsible persons in high-rise and multi-occupied residential buildings above 11 metres in height to provide additional safety measures.
It is also important to note that all multi-occupied residential buildings with two or more sets of domestic premises are now required to provide safety information to residents. The exception are maisonettes, as these are two flats with no common parts.
Duncan Sutcliffe, Managing Director at Sutcliffe & Co Insurance Brokers explains “The introduction of the new Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022 is welcomed by the industry, helping to keep residents safe in their homes. Since the Grenfell tragedy in 2017, many changes have been implemented and this adds to the measures to increase fire safety.”
Duncan adds, “The key now is ensuring compliance of the new regulations. Ensuring that the responsible persons are aware of the fire safety rules is the first step, then compliance with action is critical in keeping residents safe”.
As well as providing up-to-date electronic building floor plans to local Fire and Rescue Service, it is also necessary to provide a single page building plan which identifies key firefighting equipment, in a secure information box on site. Critical information regarding the design and materials of the external wall system of a building must be given, as well as informing on any material changes.
Other areas the new Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022 considers include monthly checks on operational lifts and the installation of secure information boxes and hard copies of the building floor plans. It also stipulates that wayfinding signage, visible in low light or smoky conditions that identifies flat and floor numbers in the stairwells of relevant buildings, must be installed.
In residential buildings over 11 metres high, the responsible persons will be required to undertake checks of flat entrance doors on an annual basis and quarterly checks of all fire doors in the common parts. Fire safety instructions need to be provided to residents of all multi-occupied buildings with two or more sets of domestic premises and it needs to address areas such as how to report a fire, the importance of fire doors and the evacuation strategy in the event of a fire.
You can find full details regarding the Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022 on the Government’s website https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/fire-safety-england-regulations-2022/fact-sheet-overview