New Fire Safety Regulations are coming into effect in England from January 2023 which require residential buildings to update some of their fire safety equipment and procedures.
One key change to the Fire Safety Regulations 2022 is the new procedures around checking fire doors, including routine checks and inspections of fire doors.
What are fire doors?
Fire doors are constructed using specific materials and ironmongery that allow the door to prevent the spread of fire and smoke. Commonly, they suppress fire for 30-60 minutes and will have been through rigorous testing to gain certification for this.
They usually have a sticker on them saying ‘fire door keep shut’ but fire doors can also look like a standard front door. If you live in a block of flats or a HMO, your front door should be a fire-rated door.
What are the Fire Safety Regulations 2022 updates?
From the 23rd of January 2023, it’s a legal requirement for the Responsible Person for multi-occupied buildings over 11 metres to:
- Carry out quarterly checks of all fire doors in communal areas
- Carry out annual checks on all flat entrance doors
- Provide information to residents about the importance of fire doors
The Responsible Person should be able to check for and identify any obvious issues with fire doors, such as broken closers. Professional help should be acquired for a comprehensive inspection or a fire door replacement.
For more in-depth information about new fire door requirements, please refer to this Government factsheet.
Who is the Responsible Person?
The Responsible Person is ultimately the person who has legal responsibility for the fire safety in the building.
They are usually the person who owns or is in control of a building. In a property, it could be the landlord or the managing agent.
Why is it important for residents to know about fire doors?
The gov.uk website states “In all multi-occupied residential buildings, the regulations require responsible persons to provide residents with fire safety instructions and information on the importance of fire doors.”
It’s natural for a fire door to become damaged over time due to high use and general wear and tear. However, sometimes the damage is caused deliberately, for example breaking or disengaging door closers.
By sharing knowledge with residents on the importance of fire doors and why they need to be closed, it may prevent them from causing damage and also be able to identify if something is wrong with a door.
Where can people learn about fire doors?
It’s currently unclear what the primary source of information being given to residents is. However, there are some great sources within the fire industry such as the FIA, FPA, IFSEC and the BWF. As we’re in the business of offering fire door services here at Fireco, we also create plenty of reliable fire door content. Our blog section and webinar archive are great places to find more information.
This video is a good place to start, defining what a fire door is and how to know if a fire door is compliant.
What other changes are being made to the Fire Safety Regulations?
It’s not just changes to fire doors that are being introduced. There are a number of other elements that will need to be implemented by the Responsible Person, including:
- Provide the Fire Service with electronic and paper versions of the building plan
- Provide information about the materials used on the exterior of the building and the level of risk these materials have
- Regular checks on firefighting lifts and equipment within the building and resolve any issues
- Installation of an information box with documents of the Responsible Person and the building plan
- Installation of evacuation and wayfinding signage visible in low light or smoky environments
For more in-depth information about all of the new requirements, please refer to this Government factsheet.
All of these new requirements have come from the findings of the Grenfell Inquiry, which highlighted some major issues about how fire safety is handled in residential property. Hopefully, with the new elements being actioned, high-rise and HMO buildings will become safer places to live.