Author
Rona Westgate

Rona Westgate

Senior Professional Support Lawyer

Read More
Author
Rona Westgate

Rona Westgate

Senior Professional Support Lawyer

Read More

28 July 2022

Under Construction - Q2 2022 – 4 of 5 Insights

How the Fire Safety Act 2021 and the Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022 affects landlords

  • Briefing

The Fire Safety Act 2021 came into force on 16 May 2022 in England following its implementation in Wales on 1 October 2021. Recently published are the Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022 which are due to come into effect on 23 January 2023.

What is the Fire Safety Act 2021?

The Fire Safety Act clarified the scope of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (FSO). The FSO applies to all workplaces, commercial buildings and public places, and the common parts of multi-occupied residential buildings. There had been some uncertainty as to the scope of the FSO concerning the common areas of multi-occupied residential buildings and the Fire Safety Act confirmed that for such buildings, the FSO applies to:

  • the structure, external walls (including cladding and balconies)
  • the individual flat entrance doors between domestic premises and the common parts.

The FSO requires that Responsible Persons, typically employers, freeholders or managing agents, carry out fire safety assessments. Responsible Persons will now need to ensure that these elements are included in fire safety assessments for multi-occupied residential buildings. 

What about the Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022?

Responsible Persons will acquire additional responsibilities under the Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022 which are due to come into force on 23 January 2023. These Regulations seek to improve fire safety of high-rise residential buildings by implementing most of the recommendations made by the Grenfell Tower Inquiry in its Phase 1 report. 

These Regulations will apply in England and require that the Responsible Person of a multi-occupied residential building take specific action depending on the height of the building.

For multi-occupied residential buildings (at least 18 metres in height or 7 or more storeys), the Responsible Person will need to:

  • Building Plans: provide the fire and rescue services with electronic copies of building floor plans and keep hard copies of those plans in a secure information box accessible by firefighters.
  • External wall Systems: provide the fire and rescue services with information about the building’s external wall system and provide updates if there are material changes to these walls.
  • Lifts and Fire-Fighting equipment: undertake monthly checks on fire and evacuation lifts and other firefighting equipment and inform the fire and safety services if a lift used by firefighters or firefighting equipment is out of order for longer than 24 hours.
  • Information Boxes: install and maintain a secure information box containing the name and UK contact details of the responsible person and hard copies of building floor plans.
  • Wayfinding Signage: install way finding signage which is visible in low light conditions showing flat and floor numbers in the stairwells.

For multi-occupied residential buildings over 11 metres in height, Responsible Persons will need to:

  • Fire Doors: undertake quarterly checks on all communal fire doors, and make annual checks on flat entrance doors.

In all multi-occupied residential buildings with communal areas, Responsible Persons will need to:

  • provide residents with relevant fire safety instructions and information about the importance of fire doors.

Comment

Guidance to support Responsible Persons to comply with the new Regulations is expected over the coming months. In the meantime, Responsible Persons should:

  • ensure fire assessments in multi-occupied residential buildings take into account the risks from external walls, balconies and flat entrance doors under the amended scope of the FSO
  • consider what steps need to be taken to share information with fire and rescue services for affected multi-occupied residential buildings and how to implement the other requirements under the new fire regulations.
Call To Action Arrow Image

Latest insights in your inbox

Subscribe to newsletters on topics relevant to you.

Subscribe
Subscribe

Related Insights

Detailed shot of modern architecture facade
Real estate & construction

Regulation of embodied carbon emissions in buildings back on the agenda?

28 July 2022
Briefing

by Rona Westgate

Click here to find out more
Construction workers on construction site
Real estate & construction

Combustible materials: new regulations extend ban

10 June 2022
Quick read

by Rona Westgate

Click here to find out more
Collection of different coloured construction helmets
Real estate & construction

Exercising the right to terminate getting notices right

24 May 2022
Briefing

by Rona Westgate and Kachenka Pribanova

Click here to find out more