Fire Safety Regulations update in the wake of Grenfell

Effective from the 23rd January 2023, there will be a new set of rules governing fire safety checks, for residential buildings of multiple occupancy, over 11 metres in height, in the UK.

Learnings from Grenfell

The Phase 1 report from the Grenfell Fire Enquiry noted that:

Fire doors play an essential role in preventing or inhibiting the spread of smoke and toxic gases and in preserving the effective compartmentation of buildings.”

However, it was clear that fire doors in the Grenfell building were not effective in containing fire, or in preventing smoke and toxic gasses escaping, due to damage or disrepair.

Fire Door Inspections

The outcome of the enquiry recommended that the owner or manager of every multi-occupied building undertake an urgent inspection of all fire doors. The aim being to ensure compliance with UK fire safety standards, with checks then being repeated every 3 months.

The inspection should consider at the minimum:

  • Any damage to a door’s glazing or air transfer grille
  • Check for gaps around door frames and that hinges are fitted correctly to ensure a good seal
  • That automatic door closers are in place and functioning correctly
  • That there is no visible wear and tear to the door closing device
  • That the door closes correctly around the whole frame

This initial inspection does not require particular skills and can be carried out by the person responsible, but any damage or issues identified should be dealt with as quickly as possible by a specialist.

Everyone needs to play their part

Landlords should encourage residents to allow access to fire doors by firstly informing them of the new legislation. It is important to stress the need to keep fire doors closed at all times and explain the reasons for maintaining fire doors and automatic closers effectively. This is for the benefit and safety of all residents, with the Grenfell tragedy serving as stark a reminder of the risk of failure.

Thereafter, quarterly checks should be scheduled, and residents should be advised to report any problems they encounter in between. If for any reason, access to a premises is not forthcoming, then steps should be taken to prove that permission has been requested, in writing, as evidence.

The Fire Safety Act 2021 – For clarity:

The regulations do not replace the existing duty for a responsible person to put in place general fire precautions in any premises covered by the Fire Safety Order, regardless of the building’s height.

This duty includes making sure that all fire doors – including flat entrance doors – are capable of providing adequate protection.

Any residential building which contains two or more sets of domestic premises are within the scope of the Fire Safety Order.

Responsible persons will also be required to provide residence with information on fire doors, how and why they work, so that they can appreciate the reasons for vigilance and compliance.

Safety First

MIH Property Management take fire safety very seriously and fully embrace the changes. Our experienced staff are well versed in the latest commercial and residential property legislation. If you require advice, guidance, or support services around Fire & Safety in your properties, then please speak to our team: