New fire safety regulations have come into effect for multi-occupancy and high-rise buildings in England this month.
The 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.
The regulations require 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. They also require responsible persons in high-rise and multi-occupied residential buildings above 11 metres in height to provide additional safety measures.
In addition, all multi-occupied residential buildings with two or more sets of domestic premises are now required to provide safety information to residents. However, these regulations do not apply to maisonettes - where two flats exist within a converted house and there are no common parts.
David Reynolds, Head of Risk Engineering and Surveys at RiskSTOP said: “All regulations designed to ensure the safety of people in their homes is welcome and it's good to see these measures coming in following the Grenfell tragedy five and a half years ago.
“However, what matters most is compliance and we must all continue to play a role in ensuring that responsible persons are not only aware of the fire safety rules that apply to them, but that they are meeting them for the benefit of all whose lives depend on their actions.”
What you should know In high-rise residential buildings, responsible persons will be required to 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. They will also need to provide information about the design and materials of the external wall system and inform on any material changes.
Monthly checks are required on the operation of lifts intended for use by firefighters and evacuation lifts in the building, as well as checks around key pieces of firefighting equipment. Outcomes will need to be made available to residents and defects in lifts and equipment will also need to be reported to the local Fire and Rescue Service.
Secure information boxes must be installed and maintained in the building, containing the name and contact details of the responsible person and hard copies of the building floor plans. Wayfinding signage, visible in low light or smoky conditions that identifies flat and floor numbers in the stairwells of relevant buildings, must also be installed.
In residential buildings with storeys over 11 metres in height, responsible persons will be required to 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 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. Information relating to the importance of fire doors in fire safety must also be provided to residents.
You can find more information about the regulations on the Government’s website here.
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