The Grenfell Tower blaze of 2017, one of the worst disasters in the UK of the last decade, was a tragic reality for many, with seventy-two people losing their lives due to unsafe living conditions, and lack of fire safety within the building’s maintenance. The ensuing Grenfell Tower public inquiry highlighted many failings that contributed to the rapid spread of the fire and led to new fire safety regulations for UK flats and multi-occupancy buildings being developed to stop such a disaster from ever repeating itself.
But, how does the Grenfell Tower Disaster play any effect on the latest legislation and new fire safety regulations, which have recently been introduced in early 2023?
The Grenfell Tower Fire Doors
Prior to the Grenfell Tower disaster, fire safety was governed by the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, statutory legislation in England and Wales that placed specific responsibilities upon organisations and individuals to identify, manage, and reduce the risk of fire in buildings.
However, the Grenfell Tower Inquiry concluded that fire safety measures fell very short and directly contributed to the spread of the blaze. While much media attention has been given to the use of flammable cladding on the exterior of the tower, which enabled the fire to spread to the upper floors in minutes, the inquiry also identified other major weaknesses in fire safety measures, particularly regarding fire doors. Not only were these judged to be inadequate – in subsequent tests, the type of fire doors installed in Grenfell Tower failed within fifteen minutes – but they were often left open, either deliberately or because self-closing mechanisms were defective.
The Changing Face Of UK Fire Safety Regulations
New fire safety regulations – the Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022 – came into force in January this year. The Act had previously been adopted in Wales, while the Scottish devolved government introduced comparable legislation in 2022.
The aim of the new legislation in England is to improve fire safety in multi-occupancy buildings, such as high-rise apartment blocks, in ways that are practical, cost-effective, and proportionate to the risk.
The key points of the new legislation:
- The new fire safety regulations do not replace the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 but rather, adds more detail and clarity to some existing points to eliminate any ambiguity.
- The regulations focus on the key issues identified in the Grenfell Tower inquiry and now also apply to balconies, cladding, insulation, windows, fixtures, and fittings.
- Landlords must comply with the new laws which came into effect on 23rd January 2023 or face legal action.
- Fire doors are rated using the same metrics as before. Doors must be FD-rated, specifying for how long they will resist a fire: FD30-rated doors, which provide thirty minutes of resistance, are the most common and are the type recommended in safety regulations.
Contact Us For Expert Fire Safety Advice
At Mila Maintenance, we install, inspect, and maintain FD-rated fire doors for multi-occupancy buildings such as high-rise flats and social housing. To find out more about our services, please call us today on 0808 100 8881 or send us an enquiry.
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