The new Fire Safety (England) Regulations (the “Regulations”) come into force in England on Monday 23 January 2023. Ahead of this, the Government has now published guidance to provide further detail on the responsibilities and duties imposed on individuals and organisations under the Regulations. 

Who is the guidance for? 

The guidance is intended to assist any individual or organisation who is a Responsible Person for the purposes of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (the “Fire Safety Order”). Under the Fire Safety Order, the Responsible Person is either:

  • in the context of a workplace, the employer, to the extent it is under their control; or
  • in the context of any other premises, either:
    • the person who has control of the premises (as occupier or otherwise) in connection with the carrying on by him of a trade, business or other undertaking (for profit or not); or
    • the owner, where the person in control of the premises does not have control in connection with the carrying on by that person of a trade, business or other undertaking.

What does the guidance cover? 

Under the Regulations certain duties are imposed on the Responsible Person in relation to fire safety at their premises. 

These duties apply to residential buildings and range from duties that are applicable to every residential building (i.e. no height requirement) to specific duties applicable only to high rise residential buildings. To assist, the guidance distinguishes which duties apply in relation of different types of residential building, as follows:

  • general duties of the Responsible Person;
  • duties of the Responsible Person for buildings over 11 meters in height; and
  • duties of the Responsible Person for high-rise buildings (buildings over 18 meters in height).

The guidance also clarifies the nature and extent of the duties on the Responsible Person to provide information to residents of the premises, to carry out fire safety checks of fire doors in communal areas and to fire safety equipment (including fire alarms, mains risers, fire suppression systems, lifts for emergency services etc.), to provide appropriate wayfinding signage and to prepare and maintain appropriate records of the external wall construction and the design of the premises (including floor plans to be made available to the emergency services).

The full guidance is available here.

 BS Comment 

As the Government continues to progress its programme for the implementation of secondary legislation for the new fire safety and building safety regime, the publication of accessible guidance provides welcome assistance to Responsible Persons in understanding their new responsibilities and duties under the Regulations.

We will continue to monitor Government’s progress and report on key developments. Should you have any queries in relation to fire safety or building safety, please contact Tom Weld.

This article was written by Tom Weld and Kayla Urbanski.