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Fire Safety Rules For Residential Buildings In 2023

Fire safety rules apply to many buildings across the UK, however residential buildings are some of the most regulated due to their high occupancy at all times throughout the day and even at night. This makes the risk to human life significant, creating the need for extremely effective security and safety measures.

If you own a residential building, do you know which rules and regulations you need to be following? Here’s an outline of what your building’s fire safety must follow in order to comply. Remember, it’s always important to speak directly with a fire safety expert if you are unsure of any specific regulations that may apply to you.

All Residential Buildings With 2 Or More Residential Units

Similar rules for commercial buildings (see our blog post on general fire regulations in 2023) also apply to the common areas of residential buildings. 

The first important duty that must be undertaken is a fire risk assessment that will form the basis of the fire safety plan and strategy for the building. This should be a written document that records and clearly shows the main findings of hazards, potential risks, and action that needs to be taken in order to remain fire safe.

Building owners or the person who they have made responsible for fire safety must then take suitable measures to make sure the building is safe, including installing fire alarms, emergency lighting, and fire fighting equipment.

All residential blocks must also display fire safety instructions that are easy for residents to understand and follow, as well as providing information to residents on fire doors, such as notices to keep shut when not in use.

Large Residential Buildings (All Those Over 11 Metres Tall)

Since the Grenfell Tower tragedy in 2017, additional fire safety measures have now been put in place for large residential buildings in order to better protect all occupants in the case of a fire. These regulations came into force in January 2023.

These regulations extend the scope of the Regulatory Reform Order 2005 (the legislation that governs commercial buildings and common areas in residential buildings) so that it includes the individual apartments in these buildings as well. This means that all parts of the building must be assessed and kept fire-safe.

Residential buildings taller than 11 metres also require more frequent checks and testing, including fire door checks at the entrances of individual apartments every 12 months, and communal fire door checks every 3 months.

Residential Buildings Over 18 Metres Tall (High-Rise Buildings)

Even further measures apply to high-rise buildings, classified as those over 18 metres tall or 7 stories high. 

  • Monthly checks of firefighting equipment and fire lifts should be carried out
  • A floor plan and building plan should be provided to the local fire and rescue authority, detailing layout, access, location of stairways, and controls for firefighting systems such as sprinklers
  • Building owners and managers are required to assess and manage the risk of fire in external wall systems, including cladding
  • The building should always contain wayfinding signage within stairways and lift lobbies, detailing each floor and the individual flats on each

Whilst fire safety is crucial in all buildings, the risk of loss of life is at its most in residential buildings. If you own a residential building, are in charge of fire safety in one, or know somebody who could benefit from this information, make sure to save this post. If you’re unsure as to whether you meet the current requirements or may need help improving your systems, get in touch with us today for advice.