Fire Safety Act 2021 and Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022
Fire Safety Act 2021 and Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022: The Fire Safety Act 2021 commenced on 16 May 2022 and can be found here. The Act amends the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (the “Fire Safety Order”). It applies to any building containing two or more domestic premises. The Fire Safety (England) Regulations have been introduced as an important step towards implementing the recommendations of the Grenfell Tower Inquiry Phase 1 report.
New Guidance issued October 2023
New regulations relating to fire safety in buildings are due to commence from October 1, 2023.
Revisions to section 156 of the Building Safety Act 2022 include a number of amendments to the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (FSO) to improve fire safety in all buildings regulated by the FSO. These improvements form Phase 3 of the Home Office’s fire safety reform programme, building on Phase 1 (the Fire Safety Act 2021) and Phase 2 (the Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022).
Phase 3 further strengthens fire safety in all FSO regulated premises by:
- improving cooperation and coordination between Responsible Persons (RPs).
- increasing requirements in relation to the recording and sharing of fire safety information, thus creating a continual record throughout a building’s lifespan.
- making it easier for enforcement authorities to take action against non-compliance.
- ensuring residents have access to comprehensive information about fire safety in their building.
These changes include requirements for businesses to record their fire risk assessment in full, regardless of the number of employees, enhanced requirements for cooperation and coordination between responsible persons and new requirements to provide fire safety information to residents.
The Home Office will be publishing guidance to support Responsible Persons in complying with their new duties.
There are three new fire safety guides that have been published on small non-domestic premises, small blocks of flats and for small sleeping accommodation. These replace the old short guide to making your premises safe from fire. These are available via the link below:
Fire Safety Act 2021
The Fire Safety Act 2021 commenced on 16 May 2022 and can be found here. The Act amends the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (the “Fire Safety Order”). It applies to any building containing two or more domestic premises.
The Act clarifies that responsible persons (RPs) for multi-occupied residential buildings must manage and reduce the risk of fire for the structure and external walls of the building, including cladding, balconies and windows, and entrance doors to individual flats that open into common parts. As the RP, you are under the legal duty to manage and reduce the risk of fire for these parts of the building. Your fire risk assessment will need to consider these parts.
When auditing your building, we will need to see that these have been assessed in your fire risk assessment, or how you plan for them to be assessed. The National Fire Chief Council (NFCC) has supported the Home Office to produce the Fire Risk Assessment Prioritisation Tool, which is available within The Fire Safety Act commencement prioritisation guidance here.
- The Tool aims to help responsible persons develop a strategy to prioritise your buildings to update your fire risk assessments to ensure they include an assessment of the fire safety risks of external walls.
- The Tool is only a guide that is based on a defined set of characteristics that may apply to your building. If you are aware of any other factors impacting the overall residual risk of your building that are not considered in the Tool, you should prioritise the review of that building’s Fire Risk Assessment.
- The tool does not remove the need or requirement for both responsible person and fire and rescue services to act upon known or suspected risks, even where those premises are determined as low or very low priority by the tool.
Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022
The Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022 have been introduced as an important step towards implementing the recommendations of the Grenfell Tower Inquiry Phase 1 report. The Regulations are being introduced under Article 24 of the Fire Safety Order and will come into force on 23 January 2023. The Regulations apply to England only; more details can be found on the UK Government website.
Understanding the Fire Safety England Regulations 2022
Watch this video to better understand the new Fire Safety (England) Regulations.
Most of the requirements set out in the Regulations are imposed on the responsible person (RP). The regulations require RPs in multi-occupied residential buildings to take specific actions, depending on the height of the building:
- some provisions apply regardless of height
- more are needed once a building reaches 11 metres, and
- further requirements are introduced when a building reaches 18 metres (or 7 storeys) or more.
Where can I find out more information?
You can find out more by visiting the NFCC website.
The Fire Safety (England) Regulations can be found on the UK Government website
The Home Office has produced a series of fact sheets which provide more detailed information on what the Regulations mean in England: