New fire safety regulations are being introduced on the 23rd of January 2023, that will affect the owners and managers of high-rise residential buildings.

Put forward by the Home Office back in 2022, the purpose of the updated legislation is to deliver fundamental information to the Fire and Rescue Services (FRS) to – assist them to plan and, if needed, provide an effective operational response, in the event of a fire.

These new requirements involve the responsible persons (England only) in multi-occupied residential buildings which are high-rise buildings, as well as those above 11 metres in height, to provide additional safety measures and instructions.

The regulations apply to existing buildings, and requirements for new buildings may be different.

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 Fire-Fighting 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.

Way-finding Signage: to install signage visible in low light or smoky conditions that identifies flat and floor numbers in the stairwells of relevant buildings.

Additionally, the Guild of Residential Landlords indicated in an article on their website in response to regulations 9 and 10, it intends to – add a leaflet to the tenancy agreement by Tenancy Builder and separately for sending each year.

The guidance reiterates that the new regulations apply to the following:

  • The walls and floors that separate any domestic premises from other domestic premises, plant rooms, etc, or from parts of the building that are used in common by the occupants of two or more domestic premises.
  • External walls of the building, including doors or windows within an external wall, and attachments to an external wall (e.g., balconies).
  • Parts of the building that are used in common by the residents of two or more domestic premises (e.g., communal corridors and stairways).
  • Flat entrance doors.
  • Plant rooms and other non-domestic areas of the building, such as tenant halls, offices, laundries, gyms, and commercial premises.

The updated Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022 have been made under Article 24 of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.

Click here to read the full government guidance.