New fire safety regulations to come into effect in January 2023

26 August 2022

The government has announced the arrival of new fire safety regulations, set to come into force in January of 2023.

What are the new regulations?

The Fire Safety Act 2022 (FSA) is not set to replace the Fire Safety Order 2005 (FSO), rather it is designed to expand and clarify some existing points. The FSA affects buildings that contain more than one residence, and clarifies that the arrangements set out in the FSO that apply to the entire structure of a building, the external walls, and any doors that separate domestic and common parts of a building.

This will include all balconies, cladding, fittings, insulation, and windows that may be part of a building structure. Some of which were deemed to be key factors in the severity of the Grenfell Tower fire.

How does this affect the ‘responsible person’?

Responsible Persons will acquire additional responsibilities under the Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022 which are due to come into force on 23 January 2023. These Regulations seek to improve fire safety of high-rise residential buildings by implementing most of the recommendations made by the Grenfell Tower Inquiry in its Phase 1 report.

These Regulations will apply in England and require that the Responsible Person of a multi-occupied residential building take specific action depending on the height of the building.

Under the new regulations, the ‘responsible person’ for each building should ensure that the fire risk assessments carried out for properties under their control accurately reflect the new requirements.

As with all fire risk assessments, it’s vital that any potential fire risks are removed or amended within the building. Special care and attention should be taken when assessing the risks associated with material changes to the building, such as changes to a building such as  repairs, refurbishments or alteration are being carried out, as these can often have a detrimental effect on how fire and smoke spread throughout a building if not managed carefully.

As the responsible person, you may also be required to highlight that you have adequately assessed fire risks associated with the new requirements set out within the Fire Safety Act.

What does this mean for fire risk assessments?

Increased scrutiny is to be put on the appointment of fire risk assessors, with assessments only to be carried out by a ‘competent professional.’

At Total Fire Group, our fire risk assessment methodology, template and approach to fire risk has been developed, reviewed and adapted over the last 16 years in business. All our assessors  ensure consistency of approach to the recording of the significant findings and risk analysis.

The FRA will assist the Responsible Person in identifying significant findings that are clear breaches of the Fire Safety Order and the new Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022 set to come into effect from 2023, with priority, risk and time scales recorded to action the findings. Our process will also identify fire risks that may be outside the scope of the Fire Safety Order but could present a property or business continuity risk.

For help ensuring your fire risk assessments are thorough and fully compliant, contact us at Total Fire Group. We’ve worked with a range of housing associations and landlords and we’d love to work with you too.

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