The Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022

The Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022 were placed on the statute book on 18 May 2022, and came into force on 23 January 2023. The regulations implement the majority of those recommendations made to government in the Grenfell Tower Inquiry Phase 1 report which require a change in the law.

Responsible Persons, including both building owners (for example freeholders) and other persons having control of the premises (for example managing agents) were required to comply with the regulations from 23 January 2023. Any breach of the regulations is a criminal offence if the breach places one or more relevant persons (for example residents, staff or visitors) at risk of death or serious injury in the event of fire.

What the law requires

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (as amended) (‘the FSO’) requires that, in a block of flats, there are suitable fire precautions in place to make sure that the common parts are safe to use as a means of escape in the event of fire.  The appropriate fire precautions are determined by carrying out a fire risk assessment.

As this is a legal requirement under Article 9 of the FSO, you should have already made sure that a suitable and sufficient fire risk assessment has been carried out; if there is no fire risk assessment in place, you must arrange for this to be carried out as soon as is practicably possible.

Fire-resisting doors (fire doors) are one of the most important measures to safeguard the means of escape from fire. Your fire risk assessment should already have identified the doors in question and determined whether the doors are adequate to resist the spread of fire and smoke into, or within, the common parts. You should have already taken steps to maintain doors in good order, and where it has been found that the existing door is inadequate and needs to be replaced, this must be done by a competent person.

As with all fire safety measures, fire doors need to be kept in good working order and in good repair.  Wear and tear, for example, can result in defects. The objective of regulation 10 is to ensure that such defects do not materially undermine the ability of the doors adequately to prevent fire and smoke spread, whether to the extent originally designed or as verified as adequate in the most recent fire risk assessment.

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