The Fire Safety Act 2021 received Royal Assent on 29 April 2021 and commenced on 16 May 2022. The Act amends the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (the Fire Safety Order).
We are pleased to welcome the commencement of the Fire Safety Act in England and Wales, and the Regulations in England, as important steps forward in strengthening the Fire Safety Order and improving fire safety.
The Act clarifies that responsible persons (RPs) for multi-occupied residential buildings must manage and reduce the risk of fire for the structure and external walls of the building, including cladding, balconies and windows, and entrance doors to individual flats that open into common parts.
The Act clarifies that where a building contains two or more sets of domestic premises, the Fire Safety Order applies to:
The building’s structure and external walls (including windows, balconies, cladding, insulation and fixings) and any common parts.
All doors between domestic premises and common parts such as flat entrance doors (or any other relevant door).
The Act provides greater clarity on where the Fire Safety Order applies in multi-occupied residential buildings. RPs must manage and reduce the risk of fire for:
The structure and external walls of the building, including anything attached to the exterior of those walls, such as cladding, balconies and windows and
entrance doors to individual flats that open into common parts.
Following the devastating Grenfell Tower Fire in 2017, the Grenfell Tower Inquiry was established. To meet the Inquiry’s Phase 1 recommendations, the Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022 (the Regulations) were introduced.
Which parts of the UK do these changes apply to?
The Act applies to England and Wales. However, the Regulations only apply to England. Information on how the Act applies within Wales can be found on the Welsh Government website.
The PPRU has supported the Home Office Task and Finish Group in the production of a new Fire Risk Assessment Prioritisation Tool (FRAPT).
The FRAPT is an online tool designed to assist responsible persons to develop a strategy to prioritise their buildings to review their fire risk assessments, to ensure they take into account the clarifications outlined in the Act.
The Fire Risk Assessment Prioritisation Tool is available within The Fire Safety commencement prioritisation guidance.
This approach is also designed to ensure that competent professionals who have the required skills to assess external walls (such as fire engineers, fire risk assessors, surveyors, or architects) prioritise their resources to buildings identified as high priority.
The Fire Risk Assessment Prioritisation Tool does not constitute a fire risk assessment in itself, nor does it remove the need or requirement for both FRSs and RPs to act upon known or suspected risk in all premises.
RPs need to start planning now to be prepared for the changes. The PPRU is working with the Home Office to support the development of standard templates to assist both RPs and FRSs to ensure consistent and useful information is collected and received.
RPs are encouraged to:
Begin to use the Fire Risk Assessment Prioritisation Tool (the FRAPT), to start forming their fire risk assessment review prioritisation strategies. RPs should first consider the accompanying guidance. RPs should ensure their reviewed assessments take into account the requirements of the FSO (as amended).
Consider what steps are necessary to be ready to share additional information with FRSs by 23 January 2023.
RPs are advised not to begin submitting their information to FRSs at this stage, unless this has already been agreed with your local FRS.
The preferred format for how RPs provide information to FRSs will be detailed within the Home Office guidance, which is currently being produced. The guidance will be published in 2022 in advance of the Regulations came fully in to force on 23 January 2023.
In preparation, RPs are encouraged to begin preparing to comply with the new Regulations. For example, RPs can begin work now on some aspects, e.g. installation of wayfinding signage, and procurement of secure information boxes.
The FSA commenced on 16 May 2022. This means that RPs should now (if they have not already done so) consider when to review their fire risk assessments, to ensure these take account of any risk from the external wall. It is important that RPs are directed to, and consider the more detailed guidance from the Home Office about when and how to go about this.
A new Fire Risk Assessment Prioritisation Tool has been made available. The prioritisation tool is an online tool designed to support Responsible Persons to develop a prioritisation strategy for updating their fire risk assessments, following commencement. The prioritisation tool can be accessed within The Fire Safety Act commencement guidance.
For the other changes, including the requirements to provide additional information to FRSs, The Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022 came into force on 23 January 2023.
The UK Government published Guidance to support RPs to comply with the new Regulations in summer 2022, after consultation, and ahead of the Regulations coming into effect.
You can find out more by visiting the NFCC website.
Last updated: Monday, 13 November 2023