Changes to Fire Door Regulations from Jan 23rd 2023.
The latest changes to fire door regulations is set to come into force on the 23rd Jan 2023, following the golden thread reports issued after the grenfell Tower disaster.
If you are a landlord, 'responsible person' as identified under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, or have any dealing with fire door inspection and/or their maintenance, then you should take note of these changes and ensure to avoid any legal issues.
I have added a link to the end of this blog summary of the changes if you wish to read in full from the HM Gov web site.
In summary the main thrust is for all multi-occupied premies with sleeping accommodation units, across England and Wales that are over 11m in height to the lowest floor, but also any building which is below 11m and has two or more separate dwellings that lead onto a common escape route, then these regulations apply.
This will obviously affect landlords and housing associations across England and Wales.
The regulations state under article 24 of the Regulatory Reform order the responsible person will
- undertake quarterly checks of all fire doors (including self-closing devices) in the common parts
- undertake – on a best endeavour basis – annual checks of all flat entrance doors (including self-closing devices) that lead onto a building’s common parts.
The regulations will also require responsible persons to provide to residents of all multi-occupied residential buildings with two or more sets of domestic premises (that have common parts) information on the importance of fire doors to a building’s fire safety.
The reason for these changes:
The Grenfell Tower Inquiry in the Phase 1 report noted that “Fire doors play an essential role in preventing or inhibiting the spread of smoke and toxic gases and in preserving the effective compartmentation of buildings.”
The Inquiry noted that the fire doors in Grenfell Tower did not, through damage and/or disrepair, act in the way that they should so that they prevent smoke and gases from spreading.
Prior to the Fire Safety Act 2021, flat entrance doors in multi-occupied residential buildings may not have been routinely considered as part of the fire risk assessment process. The Fire Safety Act 2021 has removed the legal ambiguity and confirms that flat entrance doors are in scope of the Fire Safety Order.
The minimum requirement is for the responsible person to undertake an inspection of the doors to identify any obvious damage or issues. It should not be necessary to engage a specialist for these checks as the responsible person should be able to carry out these checks themselves. There are several useful guides available online which can support a responsible person in undertaking checks.
A 'responsible person' should consider:
- if there has been any alterations or damage to a door’s glazing apertures or air transfer grille
- if there are any gaps around the door frame and that seals and hinges are fitted correctly
- that the door closer shuts the door
- that the door closes correctly around the whole frame
- that there is no visible damage (either deliberate or from wear and tear) to the door or door closer
If any issues are identified from these checks, it might be appropriate to undertake more detailed checks of doors (or the self-closing device) if any damage is identified from the initial inspection. This could include engaging a specialist.
BUILDINGS LESS THAN 11M
The regulations do not replace the existing duty for a responsible person to put in place general fire precautions in any premises covered by the Fire Safety Order, regardless of the building’s height.
The Fire Safety Act 2021 has clarified that in any residential building which contains two or more sets of domestic premises are within the scope of the Fire Safety Order.
Responsible persons for residential buildings below 11 metres in height have a duty to put in place general fire precautions in these buildings, this duty includes making sure that all fire doors – including flat entrance doors – are capable of providing adequate protection.
Responsible persons will also be required to provide residents in all residential buildings with two or more sets of domestic premises with information on fire doors.
Link to HM Gov web site article