This fact sheet has been updated to reflect that the Fire Safety (England)
2022 are now in force (as of 23 January 2023).
The fact sheet aims to provide information about the regulations to residents and other interested parties.
The Regulations were made to implement the majority of those recommendations made to government in the Grenfell Tower Inquiry Phase 1 report which required a change in the law.
These Regulations 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.
Also, the regulations 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 are 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 firefighting 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 are 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 2 or more sets of domestic premises, responsible persons are 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 responsible person is the person who is responsible for the safety of themselves and others who use a regulated premises.
This is normally a building owner, or in residential properties, any other person in control of the premises. The responsible person is the person on whom most of the duties set out in the Fire Safety Order are imposed.
Why parts of these regulations are limited to high-rise buildings
The Inquiry recommendations referred mostly to high-rise buildings. 18 metres (or at least seven storeys) is the height which has, in England, been commonly used to define a high-rise building. Building standards, for example, become more restrictive at this height and fire-fighting tactics change.
Limiting those parts of the regulations which require responsible persons to share information about their building electronically to Fire and Rescue Services ensures that the Fire Service has the information it needs to respond to potentially the most complex fires.
Regardless of the height of the residential building, residents of all blocks of flats and other multi-occupied residential buildings with common parts will be given fire safety instructions as well as information on the importance of looking after fire doors, to help make them feel safer in their own homes.
PEEPs (Personal Emergency Evacuation Plans) and evacuation plans
The two Inquiry recommendations on PEEPs will not be implemented through these Regulations, states the factsheet. The Government ran a separate consultation on the issue of PEEPs between 8 June and 19 July 2021.
The PEEPs consultation made it clear the substantial difficulties of mandating PEEPs in high-rise residential buildings. Government says it recognises that this is an important issue and so the government has consulted on an alternative package of initiatives to deliver against the inquiry recommendations that relate to PEEPs. This consultation is now closed) and the government is considering all responses.
The Inquiry recommendation on evacuation plans has a clear link with the issue of PEEPs and so we intend to deal with evacuation from high-rise, and other residential buildings, as a single issue.
These regulations will require responsible persons to provide residents with fire safety instructions which set out how they should respond to a fire and a reminder of their building’s existing evacuation strategy.
Responsible persons are also reminded of their existing duties under articles 8-22 of the Fire Safety Order and in particular articles 8 (duty to take general fire precautions), 14 (emergency routes and exits) and 15 (procedures for serious and imminent danger and for danger areas).
There have been updates to other fact sheets in this series, namely: ‘Secure information box (regulation 4)’, ‘Design and materials of external walls (regulation 5)’, ‘Floor plans and building plan (regulation 6)’, ‘Lifts and essential fire-fighting equipment (regulation 7)’, ‘Wayfinding signage (regulation 8)’, ‘Information to residents (regulation 9)’ and ‘Fire doors (regulation 10)’.
Home Office February 2023
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