e Fire Safety (England) Regulations is a crucial step toward implementing the Grenfell Tower Inquiry Phase 1 report recommendations. The Regulations will be introduced under Article 24 of the Fire Safety Order. It will become law on 23 January 2023.
According to the regulation, all residential buildings with floors over 11 meters in height must mandatorily do the following:
· Perform a check of all fire doors every quarter, including doors that self-close in the common areas.
· Undertake yearly checks of the entrance doors of all flats, including devices that close on their own and lead onto common areas of a building on a best endeavor basis.
The regulations also state that Responsible Persons must provide information on the importance of fire doors to a building’s safety to all flats residential buildings with multiple domestic premises having common areas.
Flat entrance doors were not considered a part of the fire risk assessment process before the Fire Safety Act 2021. The new act has done away with this ambiguity and affirmed that flat entrance doors are a part of the Fire Safety Order.
Responsible persons (RPs) must conduct annual checks of entrance doors of individual flats and quarterly checks of common doors in multi-occupied residential buildings with a height of over 11 meters.
By providing the right information about the need for fire safety doors to the fire safety of a building, the residents will be aware of their role in keeping their building safe. They will also be encouraged to allow RPs to check their flat entrance doors.
Definition of a Responsible Person
A responsible person, as defined in the Fire Safety Regulations 2022, is responsible for their own safety and those of others who use a regulated premise.
Such a person is generally a building owner or one who is in control of the premises. It is the duty of the Responsible Person to ensure the completion of most of the duties set out in the Fire Safety Order.
What Is the Current Situation?
The checks mandated under the new regulations are not intended to replace the existing Fire Safety Order. RPs must perform their duties under Article 17 of the Fire Safety Order in all buildings, regardless of height.
What Is The Meaning of “Best Endeavours”?
“Best Endeavours” means deciding on the best approach to engage with residents to convince them to provide access to undertake the annual checks of entrance doors. RPs generally decide on a date mutually with the residents to perform the inspections.
Minimum Requirements for Inspections of Fire Doors
A responsible person is the person accountable for reaching the minimum requirement and undertaking an inspection of the doors. It is not necessary to hire the services of a specialist for door checks. A fire door inspection is no less than 45 checks and the Responsible persons must ensure that these checks are carried out, such checks include:
· Alterations/damage to the glazing apertures or grilles
· Gaps around the door frame
· Inspect if the seals and hinges are fitted correctly
· Check for any damage to the door/door closer
Checking Fire Doors in Buildings Less Than 11 Meters
The new regulations do not replace existing rules, which means the responsible person must carry out checks recommended for general fire precautions covered by the Fire Safety Order. It must be done regardless of the building’s height. The current requirement is 6 monthly for communal doors and there is no requirement for residents private front doors. The Fire Safety Act 2021 clearly states that any residential building with multiple domestic premises must follow the Fire Safety Order. Responsible persons for buildings of less than 11 metres height are bound by duty place general fire precautions. Responsible persons must provide residents in all buildings with two or more sets of domestic premises with information on fire doors. They must be educated about the importance of keeping doors closed, why doors and self-closing devices must not be tampered with, and the need to fix defects, faults, and damages immediately. Residents must be provided this information when they move into a residential building and annually thereafter.
The Royal Assent and What It Means?
The Building Safety Bill received Royal Assent recently and has passed the mandatory stages of checks to become an Act of Parliament. It paves the way for the Health and Safety Executive to put in place a strong regulatory system for high-rise buildings.
The Golden Thread of Evidence
Designers and contractors work together to act in accordance with the building regulations and follow good practices for managing information about the building. This is referred to as the Golden Thread of Evidence.
The key principles to consider are:
The Golden Thread will have all the details needed to identify, understand, manage, and minimize building safety risks. This will increase knowledge and understanding of a building which in turn can translate into strategies to reduce or even prevent the severity of a fire accident and its consequences. The information stored in the golden thread can be accessed, reviewed, and managed when needed. The Golden Thread covers the information, documents, and information management processes needed to support building safety. According to the guidelines, the Golden Thread of Information should be stored in a structured digital format per the stated principles and according to the government’s digital standards.
Building safety measures must include the fire and structural safety of a building and all the people in or in the vicinity of a building. The Fire Safety Regulations 2022 are applicable to buildings in England only. Details of the regulations are available on the UK Government website. Most of the requirements mentioned in the Regulations are imposed on the responsible person (RP). They must plan and prepare to implement the regulation when it comes into force.
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