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.
Regulations made under Article 24 of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (Fire Safety Order) will implement the majority of those recommendations made to government in the Grenfell Tower Inquiry Phase 1 report which require a change in the law and come into force on 23rd January 2023. These Regulations apply in England only. 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.The regulations will also 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 high-rise residential buildings, responsible persons will be required to:
- Building Plans: provide their local Fire and Rescue Service with up-to-date electronic building floor plans and to place a hard copy of these plans, alongside a single page building plan which identifies key firefighting equipment, in a secure information box on site.
- External Wall Systems: provide to their local Fire and Rescue Service information about the design and materials of a high-rise building’s external wall system and to inform the Fire and Rescue Service of any material changes to these walls. Also, they will be required to provide 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.
- Lifts and other Key Fire-Fighting Equipment: 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 will also be required to report any defective lifts or equipment to their local Fire and Rescue Service as soon as possible after detection if the fault cannot be fixed within 24 hours, and to record the outcome of checks and make them available to residents.
- Information Boxes: install and maintain a secure information box in their building. This box must contain the name and contact details of the Responsible Person and hard copies of the building floor plans.
- Wayfinding Signage: to install signage visible in low light or smoky conditions that identifies flat and floor numbers in the stairwells of relevant buildings.
In residential buildings with storeys over 11 metres in height, responsible persons will be required to:
- 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, responsible persons will be required to:
- Fire Safety Instructions: 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.
- Fire Door Information: provide residents with information relating to the importance of fire doors in fire safety.
The Government has published a range of factsheets to supplement the regulations which can be accessed at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/fire-safety-england-regulations-2022