The Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022 (the Fire Safety Regulations) came into force on 23 January 2023 to implement most of the residential and commercial property recommendations made to the government in the Grenfell Tower Inquiry Phase 1 report. The Fire Safety Regulations introduce new duties under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 for building owners or managers (responsible persons). 

The New Fire Safety Regulations

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Are you a 'responsible person' under the Fire Safety regulations?

In the case of a block of flats or student accommodation, the responsible person will be the person who has control of the premises in connection with carrying on a business. This will usually be the block's freeholder, managing agents, or a residents' management company. If any part of the building is a workplace, for example, where part of the building is used for retail, the employer of persons working there will also be a responsible person.

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Are you a responsible person under the Fire Safety regulations

Do the regulations apply to your property?

The Fire Safety Regulations apply to all multi-occupied residential buildings in England with two or more domestic premises, including blocks of flats (including the residential parts of mixed-use buildings) and student accommodation. There are exceptions, including maisonettes which do not have any common parts through which the tenants would need to evacuate in the event of a fire, and hotels.

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Do the regulations apply to your property

New duties for residential buildings

Different duties apply to buildings of differing heights. In all multi-occupied residential buildings, the Fire Safety Regulations require responsible persons to provide residents with the following:

  • Fire safety instructions, which will include instructions on how to report a fire and what to do if a fire occurs based on the evacuation strategy for the building; and 
  • Information on the importance of fire doors. 

In residential buildings over 11 metres in height, responsible persons will also be required (to undertake annual checks of flat entrance doors and quarterly checks of all fire doors in the common parts.

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New duties for residential buildings

New duties for high-rise residential buildings

In high-rise residential buildings that are at least 18 metres in height or at least seven storeys, responsible persons will be required (in addition to the above) to:

  • Provide their local Fire and Rescue Service with up-to-date electronic building floor plans and store a hard copy of the plans in a secure information box on site, which must also contain the name and contact details of the responsible person;
  • Provide information about the design and materials of a high-rise building's external wall system to their local Fire and Rescue Service, together with details of any risks related to the design and materials of the external wall structure and any mitigating steps taken;
  • Carry out monthly checks on the operation of evacuation lifts, lifts to be used by firefighters and other key firefighting equipment. Defects that cannot be fixed within 24 hours must be reported to the Fire and Rescue Service as soon as possible after detection, and a record of the checks must be made available to residents; and
  • Install wayfinding signage, visible in low light or smoky conditions identifying flat and floor numbers in the stairwells.

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New duties for high rise residential buildings

New obligations for fire safety

The Fire Safety Regulations impose significant new obligations on those responsible for managing high-rise residential buildings. If you own, manage or operate from a building, you are likely to be a responsible person for the Fire Safety Regulations and should ensure that you have taken appropriate steps to comply with the new obligations.

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New obligations for fire safety

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If you have any more questions or would like more information regarding fire safety in high-rise buildings, you can contact our Commercial Property Solicitors below.

0161 941 4000

Joanne Perritt's profile picture

Joanne Perritt

Partner and Head of Commercial Property

Joanne has over 20 years of experience acting as a Commercial Property solicitor. Joanne has specialist expertise in commercial property matters, including acquisitions and disposals of business premises, commercial leases (acting for both landlord and tenant) and secured lending.

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