Who is affected by the new Fire Safety Act?
If you are the “Responsible Person” for the Fire Safety of a building, which contains two or more sets of domestic premises, eg a block of flats, then the Fire safety Act 2021, affects you.
What does it change?
The Act which came into force on 29th April 2021, makes amendments to the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, to ensure that the following areas are now included within the Order, for the managment and reduction of risk from the spread of fire –
- the building’s structure and external walls and any common parts
- all doors between the domestic premises and common parts
When referring to External walls, this includes :
- doors or windows in those walls, and
- anything attached to the exterior of those walls (including balconies)
Up until now the Flat front doors of residents may have been left to the individual owners to manage and maintain them. The Responsible person for the premises, must now also ensure that these doors are of the required standard to reduce .
- Are they properly maintained, undamaged, fit fully into the rebate without gaps of more than 3mm top and sides?
- Do they have the correct furniture ie, three fire rated hinges/intumescent letterboxes/fire rated glass (if fitted) ?
- Are they fitted with self closers and are these strong enough to close the door fully, from any angle ?
- Do the doors have intumescent strips and seals fitted and have these worn over time or been painted over?
The inclusion of External Walls is to ensure that fire can’t travel up the outside of the buildings, to upper floor levels, thus bypassing any passive fire protection that may have been installed internally. Windows installed on the external walls will need to be checked to ensure any that have been replaced since construction, are made of suitable fire resisting materials. As will any balconies, again any alterations/upgrades will need to be assessed. Finally any cladding installed on the building will need to confirmed as being of the correct fire resisting materials and undamaged. Assessment of cladding must be carried out by a Fire safety engineer and they can complete a External Wall Survey (EWS) form as evidence of compliance. If any cladding does not comply, other risk factors such as the height of the building will need to be taken into account, when establishing if further mitigating action will be required to reduce any risk.
If you have any questions try our Question and answers page or send us your query and we’ll be happy to help. We have extensive knowledge within the office and access to the guidance documents, however if we’re not able to answer your question, we’re happy to find out the answer from one of our more experienced assessors.