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Flats

Fire safety standards for flats.

Which regulations cover my flat?

As a single private dwelling, your flat is not covered by the Regulatory Reform Fire Safety Order 2005. However, the outside face of the building and communal areas require a fire risk assessment to be conducted under this legislation, such as corridors, staircases, shared rooms and any plant rooms.

All areas are covered by the Housing Act 2004. This is enforced by local authority housing or environmental health officers.

As a building owner, is there anything I need to know following Grenfell?

You can find information about the action that you should be taking now on GOV.UK's building safety advice for building owners. This addresses the risk of fire spread from unsafe external wall systems, as well as other key fire safety risks that need to be managed appropriately.

Does my block of flats have a Stay Put policy?

If your purpose-built block of flats complies with modern building requirements, you could have a Stay Put policy. This is decided by the building owner or responsible person following a fire risk assessment. You should only stay put if it is safe to do so.

When should my flat have a fire alarm system?

Inside your flat you should always have smoke alarms. If there is a Stay Put policy in place in your purpose-built block of flats, you would not expect to find an alarm system for the building. If, however, you live in converted flats, or you all evacuate at the same time, then you would expect to find an alarm system for the building.

Should my flat have emergency lighting?

All communal areas should have emergency lighting. This ensures that everyone can find their way out safely even if the power is cut.

Does my front door have to be a fire door?

Yes. It is usual that any door protecting the means of escape is a fire door and has a minimum of 30 minutes' fire resistance - depending on the construction of the building, this may be higher. The fire risk assessment for your building should confirm the requirement.

For fire doors in blocks of flats, see the Five Step Fire Door Check.

How do I know if my front door is a fire door?

Newly fitted fire doors come with their own certification, which relates to the manufacture and fitting of the fire door. It is possible that an original flat front door can be deemed to provide adequate fire resistance, but this can only be confirmed through having a door survey completed by a competent person. It is usual that this is completed by the building owner or managing agent.

Am I responsible for maintaining my front door?

Usually you are responsible for ensuring that your flat front door operates correctly, but the maintenance of it will depend on your individual agreement with the building owner. It is important that any defects that are found are fixed by a competent person, identified by the original installer.

Is other guidance available for fire safety in flats?

Yes. You can find practical advice on how to assess and manage the risk from fire in the document Fire safety in purpose-built blocks of flats. It includes case studies based on the commonly found issues in blocks of flats, with suggested fire safety solutions.

If your flat is in a property which has been converted, read the document produced by the Local Authorities Coordinators of Regulatory Services (LACORS) entitled Housing: Fire Safety - Guidance on fire safety provisions for certain types of existing housing.

See also our information about home fire safety.

 
Last updated:
8 June 2021
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