The fire safety responsibilities for owners, landlords and building managers in England are set to change from 23 January 2023.This will include additional requirements to inspect fire doors and provide residents with key fire door safety information.
If you are a designated responsible person for a multi-occupied residential building, you must familiarise yourself with these changes. Failure to comply is a breach of the Fire Safety Act, which can result in significant fines or imprisonment.
What are the New Fire Safety (England) Regulations from January 2023?
The UK government is implementing new fire safety regulations from January 2023. These regulations are legislated as the Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022 and are an amendment to the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (the Fire Safety Order).
The additional fire safety duties apply to multi-occupied residential buildings that have at least five storeys or are at least 11 meters in height. Buildings that contain two or more sets of domestic premises still have a duty to put in place general fire safety precautions. These new regulations place additional duties on the person or persons responsible for fire safety in multi-occupied residential buildings in England.
Under the new fire safety regulations from January 2023 (England), the responsible person/s must:
- Undertake checks of all fire doors (including self-closing devices) in the common parts of a building every quarter
- Undertake annual checks of all flat entrance doors (including self-closing devices) that lead onto a building’s common parts, on a best endeavour basis*
- Provide fire door safety information to residents
*Best endeavour means that if residents are unresponsive or uncooperative, responsible persons must be able to demonstrate that they tried to conduct these checks.
To find out more about these duties, visit the UK government’s online fact sheet.
Do You Have New Fire Safety Responsibilities?
The new fire safety regulations from January 2023 must be carried out by the designated ‘responsible person’. The responsible person can be the owner of the building, the landlord, or any person that has control of the premises such as a building manager, a facilities manager, or a managing agent.
If you are currently in one of these roles in a building that is above 11 meters in height, then the new fire safety regulations will apply to you.
Your local fire and rescue authorities have the power to inspect your building at any time. There are serious penalties for non-compliance. Failure to abide by the new regulations can result in severe financial fines and/or a prison sentence.
To avoid penalties, responsible persons must ensure inspections are being completed by a competent individual. Competency refers to having adequate experience, skills and training, such as an accredited fire door inspection training course.
What Additional Fire Door Safety Information Must Be Provided to Residents?
As mentioned the responsible person must also provide fire safety information to residents. Download our free fact sheet, which covers the type of information that residents must be provided.
Residents must be made aware that:
- Fire doors must be kept closed at all times
- Fire doors and self-closing devices must not be tampered with or damaged
- Any faults or damage to a fire door must be reported to the responsible person immediately
This information must be provided to residents as soon as they move into the building and then once a year from then onwards.
Fire Safety in Buildings Below 11 Metres in Height
Responsible persons of buildings which are below 11 metres or five storeys in height have a duty to have in place general fire precautions. This includes ensuring all fire doors, including flat entrance doors are in suitable condition to perform as required in a fire.
Responsible persons of any residential buildings with two or more sets of domestic premises will be required to provide fire door safety information.
Why Have the Fire Safety Regulations Changed?
The UK government has updated fire door regulations for multi-occupied residential buildings as a result of recommendations given by the Grenfell Tower Inquiry.
- Recommendations 33.29 (a) and (b) of the Inquiry stated that fire doors in residential buildings with separate dwellings be done every quarter.
- Recommendation 33.30 stated that the responsible person must ensure that all self-closing devices are operational and that the fire doors comply with current standards.
Before the Fire Safety Act 2021 was legislated, flat entrance doors in multi-occupied residential buildings were not required to be part of a fire safety risk assessment. The Fire Safety Act 2021 removes all ambiguity to legally affirm that flat entrance doors fall under the Fire Safety Order.
The aim of the new fire safety regulations from January 2023 (England) is to ensure that all fire doors in multi-occupied residential buildings are kept in working order. It also seeks to make certain that residents are informed of the importance of fire doors in fire safety. It is hoped that by being better informed of the role of fire doors, residents will be more likely to comply with inspections.
Where to Find Fire Door Inspection Training
With the new fire safety regulations coming into force soon, building owners and managers must act quickly. If you don’t know how to perform a fire door inspection, you need to learn as soon as possible. Remember: failure to comply with the new fire safety regulations from January 2023 (England) could result in hefty fines or even a prison sentence!
The Fire Door Inspection Training course from Human Focus teaches you how to properly conduct fire door inspections and gives you free e-checklists to use for future fire door inspections. This course is designed for competent, responsible persons in both domestic and non-domestic buildings.
You can do the course online, at your convenience, in about three hours. When you successfully complete the course, you will receive a certificate assured by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (ROSPA).
Other Fire Safety Courses from Human Focus are a great resource for anyone concerned about health and safety issues. The knowledge gained will make sure you comply with the law and keep your people and your property safe.