New Fire Safety Regulations for 2023
New Fire Safety Regulations for 2023 have officially come into effect since January 2023, bringing about crucial changes for responsible persons of high-rise residential buildings in England. After the Grenfell Tower fire in 2015, serious questions were raised about the current fire safety regulations for multi-occupied residential buildings and the safety standards for fire-fighting. This caused for amendments to be made to the Regulatory Reform (fire safety) Order 2005 which came in the form of the Fire Safety Act 2021 which was passed in April 2021, commencing the following year.
The new Fire Safety Regulations bring about new obligations for checking fire-fighting equipment, routinely checking fire doors, providing fire safety instructions to all residents and more. We’re going to cover all the new, important changes that have come with the new Fire Safety Act.
What are the new fire safety regulations?
The new fire safety act 2021 was created with the intention to expand upon many of the already existing regulations in the Regulatory Reform (fire safety) Order 2005. This act was not created in order to replace the Fire Safety Order 2005 but rather to supplement and expand upon a specific section of it to ensure greater fire safety standards in larger buildings. With this, the new Fire Safety (England) Regulations officially came into law on January 23rd, 2023.
These new regulations are a crucial step in attempting to implement many of the changes agreed upon as a result of the Grenfell Tower fire. The Fire Safety Act 2021 clarifies pre-existing duties and adds new ones for the responsible person of multi-occupied residential buildings. It ensures that these standards are retained throughout the entire premises, whereas the Fire Safety Order 2005 did not specify strict enough regulations for all areas of residential buildings.
This includes external walls and entrance doors that connect common parts with domestic parts of the building. In the new Fire Safety Act, balconies, windows and cladding all fall under the category of external walls to ensure that the risk of fire is minimised as much as possible. This is largely as a result of the Grenfell Fire which saw issues such as cladding be a key factor in the spreading of the blaze.
Visit our blog to learn more about the history of fire safety legislation.
What does this mean for the responsible person?
From January 23rd 2023, responsible persons now have new responsibilities and to ensure they are compliant with the Fire Safety Act, they must now follow the new regulations to ensure compliance with the fire safety act 2021. The Fire Safety Act provides specific regulations depending on the size of the property and how many occupants there are.
The new regulations now require any responsible persons of high-rise residential buildings to provide their local authorities and fire services with detailed information of their property. Included in the must be information about the external walls, such as what materials they’re constructed from and when they were constructed. Other details include building plans, floor plans, door plans.
For any multi-occupied residential building that has two or more domestic premises within it, the responsible person must provide all relevant fire safety instructions to the residents on how to evacuate the building appropriately during a fire, how to report a blaze and the location and importance of fire doors.
The regulations also state that any building that is above 11 metres in height and has more than two domestic premises inside of it must check the fire doors and the entrances of every individual domestic premise. These checks can be carried out as regularly as you like, however the regulations state they must be carried out at least once a year. Fire doors leading to common parts must be checked and reviewed more regularly, with checks being carried out at least every three months.
From January 2023, the Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022 will also make it a legal requirement for all responsible persons of multi-occupied, high-rise buildings of 18m or higher to conduct monthly checks on their fire-fighting equipment. These include checking lifts as these are essential for fire-fighters to use in the event of a fire, suppression and automist systems, fire alarm systems and fire doors. Any faults or defects to the fire-fighting equipment must only be reported to local fire authorities if the issue cannot be fixed within the 24 hour reporting timeframe. In the event of this, the responsible person must have the issue in question fixed and inform the fire safety authorities once the issue is resolved.
Fire risk assessments are more important than ever
Fire risk assessments are essential, and with increased strictness and accuracy on regulations, it is more important than ever to take them seriously. Under the new regulations it is essential for fire risk assessments to be carried out monthly by the responsible person of any multi-occupancy high-rise building and for this information to be reported back. However, with the tightening of these regulations, it can also be very beneficial to have licensed professionals carry out fire risk assessments on your premises to ensure your building is fully compliant under the new Fire Safety Act 2021.
Here at MCFP, we have a team of BAFE registered assessors who can help carry out those all-important fire risk assessments on your premises.
The Fire Safety Act 2021 and Fire Safety (England) regulations 2022 ultimately aim to improve fire safety throughout England. Building owners, landlords, and tenants all have a responsibility to make sure that their properties are safe from fire and must take the necessary steps to ensure that everyone is protected.
For more information on these regulations or to make an inquiry, contact us today at MCFP and our team of dedicated professionals will be happy to help.