The Fire Safety Act 2021 received Royal Assent on 29 April 2021 and commenced on 16 May 2022. The Act amends the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (the Fire Safety Order).
West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service welcomes the commencement of the Fire Safety Act 2021 in England and Wales, and the regulations in England, as important steps forward in strengthening the Fire Safety Order and improving fire safety.
The Act clarifies that responsible persons 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.
Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022
The Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022 (GOV.UK) have been introduced as an important step towards implementing the recommendations of the Grenfell Tower Inquiry Phase 1 report. The Regulations that apply to England only are being introduced under Article 24 of the Fire Safety Order and will come into force on 23 January 2023.
2 How the regulations apply
These regulations apply to all buildings in England that comprise two or more domestic premises (including the residential parts of mixed-use buildings). These buildings are principally blocks of flats, whether purpose-built or converted from another type of building, such as a house or office building but also include blocks used for student accommodation.
The regulations apply regardless of whether the flats are subject to a long lease (99 years or more) or are rented, and regardless of whether the flats are used to accommodate the general public or a particular group of people, such as sheltered housing for older people.
The Fire Safety (England) Regulations impose duties on you if you are the Responsible Person for any building which contains the following:
- two or more sets of domestic premises
- common parts through which residents would need to evacuate in the case of an emergency.
The regulations apply to:
- parts of the building that are used in common by the residents of two or more domestic premises, for example communal corridors and stairways
- flat entrance doors
- the walls and floors that separate any domestic premises from other domestic premises, such as plant rooms or from parts of the building that are used in common by the occupants of two or more domestic premises
- plant rooms and other non-domestic areas of the building, such as tenant halls, offices, laundries, gymnasia and commercial premises
- external walls of the building, including doors or windows within an external wall, and attachments to an external wall, for example balconies.
The regulations do not apply within individual flats, other than in respect of measures installed within flats for the safety of other residents of the building, such as sprinklers or smoke detectors connected to a communal fire alarm system.
Enforcement of the regulations is the responsibility of the same enforcing authority as enforces the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. In the case of a block of flats, this is virtually always the local fire and rescue authority.
4 Further information
The Home Office has published the official guidance document 'Check your fire safety responsibilities under the Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022' and accompanying guidance 'Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022: fire door guidance' to assist responsible persons to comply with the regulations.
The following suite of Fact Sheets are also available:
- Overview Fact Sheet
- Secure Information Box Fact Sheet
- Design and Materials of External Walls Fact Sheet
- Floor Plans and Building Plan Fact Sheet
- Lifts and Essential Fire-fighting Equipment Fact Sheet
- Wayfinding Signage Face Sheet
- Information to Residents Fact Sheet
- Fire Doors Fact Sheet
Visit the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) for further information to help you prepare for the regulations.