March 30, 2023

New fire door regulations come into force

News Article

New fire safety regulations will require landlords to comply with strict new fire door checks.

The rules, which are now in force, form part of the new Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022 and represent a significant ramping up of landlords’ duties and responsibilities.

Under the new rules, a designated ‘responsible person’ must complete quarterly checks on all doors in communal areas, plus annual inspections of all entrance doors to flats in high rise buildings over 11 metres tall.

The additional fire safety obligations are the latest recommendations from the 2019 Grenfell Tower Inquiry to enter the statute books.

One of the key findings of the Inquiry was the failure of ‘self-closing’ doors inside Grenfell Tower which failed to compartmentalise the fire, allowing it to spread throughout the building.

As the first residents evacuated their flats to escape the blaze, their front doors did not automatically swing shut, allowing smoke from the blaze to spread throughout the lobbies, blocking other residents’ escape routes.

According to the Inquiry, two-thirds of the ‘self-closing’ doors at Grenfell were found to have been faulty despite the landlords having been served with a ‘deficiency notice’ by inspectors from London Fire Brigade seven months prior to the disaster.

Victoria Moffatt, Head of Building and Fire Safety Programmes at the National Housing Federation (NHF) said: “While these necessary additional fire safety checks will require more resident co-operation, we know they will ultimately make homes safer.

“The NHF and our members are committed to taking the necessary steps to ensure that homes are compliant with the latest regulation and we will continue to work with residents so that they are safe, and feel safe, in their homes.”

The new regulations will be policed by local fire and rescue services, with the Regulator of Social Housing also overseeing housing associations’ compliance, in the same way as existing gas safety and other statutory safety requirements.

The duty to complete annual checks will have a deadline of 23 January each year, therefore housing providers have until 23 January 2024 to complete their first round of inspections.