Grenfell Inquiry recommendations were given greater effect on 23 January 2023, when the Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022 (Regulations) came into force.
The Regulations apply to all buildings in England that comprise two or more domestic premises. The Regulations also cover buildings that have mixed use, but contain more than two residential properties, and they also cover student accommodation. The Regulations do not, however, cover maisonettes, where flats exist within a converted house and there are no common parts.
The Regulations are in relation to the buildings themselves, not individual flats within those buildings.
The Regulations place a requirement on the responsible person(s) for that building to provide certain information to Fire and Rescue Services and to residents of the building in relation to fire safety and procedures for that building.
The ‘responsible person’ for a building is the person who is responsible for the safety of themselves and others who use the premises. In many cases, this will be the building owner or any other person in control of the premises. The Grenfell Tower Inquiry has revealed significant gaps in what the responsible person is required to do, and has called for changes.
The responsibilities of the responsible person will differ depending on the height of the building. The table below sets out the requirements of the responsible person and the buildings to which they apply:
|Requirements||Buildings up to 11 metres||Buildings between 11 and 18 metres||Buildings above 18 metres|
|To provide residents with information about the importance of fire doors||Required||Required||Required|
|To provide residents with, and display, fire safety information including evacuation strategy and what to do if a fire occurs||Required||Required||Required|
|To undertake annual checks on flat entrance doors and quarterly checks on all fire doors in the common parts||Required||Required|
|Install and maintain a secure Information Box containing the name and contact details of the Responsible Person and floor plans||Required|
|Install signage that is visible in low light or smoky conditions identifying flat and floor numbers in the stairwells||Required|
|Provide the local fire and rescue service with copies of up-to-date electronic floor and building plans and put a copy in the Information Box||Required|
|Undertake monthly checks on the operation of lifts used by firefighters and evacuation lifts, together with the functionality of key pieces of firefighting equipment||Required|
|Report any defective lifts or equipment to the local fire service if they cannot be rectified within 24 hours. Maintain a record of these checks and make them available to residents||Required|
|Provide the local fire and rescue services with information and the design and materials used in the external wall system and update them on any significant changes||Required|
|Provide information to the fire and rescue services in relation to the risks the external wall systems may give rise to and any mitigating steps which have been taken to minimize that risk||Required|
The above Regulations apply to all existing buildings. However, as this is a rapidly changing area of law, following the Grenfell Tower fire, the responsible person for a building should keep up to date with any further changes to these Regulations, or any new Regulations that come into force over the next few years.