In June 2017, 72 people lost their lives in the Grenfell Tower fire in West London, a tragedy that sparked an official enquiry to establish the cause of the blaze and the factors that allowed it to spread uncontrollably. Residents were advised to remain in their apartments and await emergency help, yet the fire doors that were supposed to restrict the spread of the blaze failed to perform adequately.
- In subsequent tests, the Grenfell Tower fire doors, which were supposed to offer 30 minutes of protection, failed in half that time.
- 56 per cent of Grenfell residents reported problems with the fire doors, mostly missing self-closing devices.
- Freedom of Information requests has revealed that more than 25,000 similar fire doors are currently installed in social housing in the UK.
How Have Fire Regulations For High-Rise Buildings In The UK Changed?
Following the enquiry into the tragedy at Grenfell Tower, fire regulations and fire safety requirements for landlords have changed, with new rules introduced in January 2023.
The Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022 legally require social landlords and property owners of multi-occupied buildings to:
- Undertake thorough quarterly checks of all fire doors, including self-closing devices in all common areas, such as foyers, stairways, and corridors.
- Annually conduct an inspection of all flat or apartment entrance doors that lead to common areas, and maintain a record of evidence.
- Entrance doors should be checked on a ‘best endeavour’ basis, in which the property owner or responsible person puts in their best effort to fulfil their obligations (for example, by agreeing to a date with residents to access each property to conduct checks). A lack of effort could result in prosecution.
- Ensure that residents are kept informed about the importance of fire doors and the vital role they play in protecting the building and its occupants from fire. This information should be provided when residents move into a property and every year thereafter.
- Many experts argue that these fire safety checks should be mandatory in the same way that annual safety checks on gas boilers are conducted.
Which Buildings Are Covered By The New Fire Safety Regulations?
These Regulations apply to all buildings in England that comprise two or more domestic premises (including the residential parts of mixed-use buildings) although there are more requirements for certain building types including;
- Multi-occupied buildings of at least 11 metres (36 feet) in height. Multi-occupied buildings are defined as those with two or more domestic dwellings with common areas.
- Purpose-built blocks of flats or apartments.
- Sheltered housing.
What Do The New Regulations Mean For You?
It is imperative that, as a rental property owner or social landlord, you comply with the new laws to safeguard residents and protect yourself from prosecution. In particular, consider these points:
- Do you have the knowledge, resources, and time to ensure that fire door safety checks are completed within the expected timescales?
- Who will be responsible for conducting the checks and do they have the necessary competence?
- How will compliance be recorded?
- Should you engage professional fire door installers to take care of your fire door needs?
Contact Us To Find Out More
At Mila Maintenance, our experts install and maintain high-quality, and safe fire doors for social housing and commercial properties, guaranteeing full compliance with the latest fire safety regulations.
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