Regulations introduced in the wake of the Grenfell Fire disaster have implications for property owners across the UK. Discover what the new rules are and how they impact your property portfolio.
For landlords of multiple residence buildings, the regulations introduced in the wake of the Grenfell Tower Inquiry make significant changes to the level of information they must give to emergency services.
And while they do increase the burden on property owners, they’re a very welcome addition to high-rise fire safety rules following the Grenfell Fire tragedy with a much greater focus on fire prevention, risk assessment and information exchange.
If you own, manage or operate a multiple-occupancy building, then you’re responsible for implementing the changes and ensuring you’re compliant. If you don’t, you could face prosecution or heavy fines.
Keep reading as we explain the new regulations and what they mean for property owners.
What are the new regulations?
The Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022 place new responsibilities on those in charge of mid- and high-rise blocks of flats and are designed to improve communication around a building’s fire risk between the owners, residents and fire service.
The regulations, which came into force in January, specifically target the ‘Responsible Person’ (RP) – most usually the landlord, owner or maintenance company – and require them to provide the local fire and rescue service and residents with comprehensive information about fire safety.
They have been introduced following recommendations from phase one of the Grenfell Tower inquiry, which looked at the circumstances surrounding the devastating Grenfell Tower fire. Seventy-two people died in the blaze which destroyed a 23-storey tower block in North Kensington, London, leading to calls for tougher fire regulation and the removal of dangerous flammable materials used to clad similar high-rise buildings up and down the country.
Am I a responsible person and what must I do?
If you own, operate or manage a multiple residence building then you are classified as an RP and therefore have a duty to make sure your building meets all the regulations. You can’t delegate your duty to others which means you can still be prosecuted if things go wrong.
Under the new regulations the RP must:
- Provide the local fire and rescue service with up-to-date electronic records of their building floor plans. It must also identify firefighting equipment on site. A hard copy also needs to be placed in a secure information box on site.
- Provide the local fire and rescue service with information about the materials used in the external wall system, any material changes that take place to the walls, any risk associated with the materials used and any steps they have taken to mitigate the risk.
- Carry out monthly checks on lifts and other firefighting equipment and report any defects to the local fire service if the fault can’t be fixed in 24 hours.
- Install and maintain a secure information box on the premises with the RP’s name and details as well as building floor plans.
- Install wayfinding signage – signage that is visible in smoky or low light conditions that identify flat numbers, floors and stairwells.
The new rules apply to owners of properties with two or more domestic residences and mixed-use buildings. Whether you own building containing a couple of flats above a takeaway or a high- rise block of flats with hundreds of tenants, you’ll need to follow the regulations.
There are additional regulations for high-rise blocks over 11 metres in height concerning fire doors, but all owners must give their residents fire safety instructions and information about fire doors.
Implementing the regulations
The regulations are a welcome and necessary addition to fire risk management, increasing transparency for building owners and facilitating fire and rescue services in the event of an incident. Making sure you’re compliant is something all owners should focus on to prevent another Grenfell.
With increasing levels of regulation it can be hard to maintain proper records but with expert help and property risk management software, keeping on top of it is easier than ever.
How can Cardinus help?
We provide comprehensive fire safety solutions for residential and commercial properties including fire risk assessments, health and safety assessments and audits.
Find out more about the regulations
To check your requirements under the new regulations, download our Guide to the Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022.
To discuss how we can help you to comply with the current and future legislation, please email [email protected] or call 020 7469 0262.