The Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022: What you need to know
The national focus on fire safety continues to grow and The Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022 is the latest new regulation to come into effect in England. Below we have summarised what you need to know and what you should consider doing to ensure you are compliant with the new legislation.
Who does it apply to?
Responsible persons for multi-occupied high-rise residential buildings in England in excess of 11m in height (as a guide this covers most buildings over 5 storeys in height). Responsible persons has a broad meaning and includes not only building owners but also their managing agents and/or right-to-manage companies.
What new checks and balances are required?
From 23 January 2023, responsible persons for buildings in scope will be required to:
- Undertake quarterly checks (such as an FDIS Certificated Fire Door Inspection) of all fire doors, including self-closing devices, in common parts. The doors that fall within scope include all flat entrance doors, doors to stairways and lobbies, doors that sub-divide corridors, and doors to plant rooms, cupboards and service risers.
- Undertake, on a “best endeavour basis”, annual checks of all flat entrance doors, including self-closing devices, that lead to a building’s common parts.
- Provide residents with information on the essential role that fire doors play in a building’s fire safety. This guidance is specific to multi-occupied residential buildings that have two or more sets of domestic premises with common parts.
How can GWD Contractors help?
GWD Contractors, a leading provider of property maintenance services. have great experience in expertise in the installation, maintenance and inspection of fire doors. Our FDIS Certificated Fire Door Inspectors can complete a thorough assessment of your fire door sets to provide you with reassurance that they meet the fire resisting standard that they should. This inspection goes beyond the door itself, but also its frame, ironmongery, hinges, locks, seals and more.
On completion of an inspection, you will be provided with a report that details the door set’s compliance. If the door set is determined to be non-compliant, we will provide a detailed breakdown of remedial steps that need to be taken to bring the door set into compliance and, of course, we can complete those works for you to an excellent standard.
How should engagement with residents change?
The new legislation pays particular attention to the way in which responsible persons communicate and interact with residents. Specifically, responsible persons will be required to relay to residents, at least annually, the importance of fire doors as an effective barrier to the spread of fire and smoke into communal areas, including advice that:
- Fire doors should be kept shut when not in use.
- Residents or their guests should not tamper with self-closing devices.
- Residents should report any fault or damage immediately to the responsible person.
- Residents must seek approval before making any alterations to their front door to ensure that this does not conflict with the overarching fire risk assessment for the premises.
It is thought that the new requirements will encourage building owners and managers to have better engagement with residents about safer practices in high rises. In its Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022: fire door guidance document, published on 19 January 2023, the Home Office outlines the vital importance of fire doors when it comes to life safety:
“Fire-resisting doors (fire doors) are one of the most important measures to safeguard the means of escape from fire. Your fire risk assessment should already have identified the doors in question and determined whether the doors are adequate to resist the spread of fire and smoke into, or within, the common parts. You should have already taken steps to maintain doors in good order, and where it has been found that the existing door is inadequate and needs to be replaced, this must be done by a competent person.
How will the new legislation be enforced?
The new regulations will be enforced by local fire and rescue services. The Home Office stresses that “any breach of the regulations is a criminal offence if the breach places one or more relevant persons (for example residents, staff, or visitors) at risk of death or serious injury in the event of fire”.
“While these necessary additional fire safety checks will require more resident co-operation, we know they will ultimately make homes safer. The NHF and our members are committed to taking the necessary steps to ensure that homes are compliant with the latest regulation, and we will continue to work with residents so that they are safe, and feel safe, in their homes.”
The full government guidance on fire doors can be found here.