The Fire Safety Act 2021 establishes new rules for any building, including flats, from two-unit conversions to multiple flats in purpose built blocks.

It seeks to clarify responsibility for managing the risk of fire for the structure and external walls of the building, including cladding/facades, balconies and windows, individual flat entrance doors and all communal fire doors.

The fire brigade will be able to ‘hold owners to account’ if they do not ensure fire-safety in their buildings

The Act will change how the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 applies and will clearly have practical and financial implications that you might want to start planning ahead for.

The Act also prepares the ground for secondary legislation to implement the recommendations made in the Grenfell Tower Inquiry phase one report.

This will mean building owners and managers of high-rise (defined as over 18m), multi-occupancy residential buildings will become responsible for new areas, including:

  • regular inspections of lifts and the reporting of results to the local fire and rescue services;
  • ensuring evacuation plans are reviewed and regularly updated and personal evacuation plans are in place for residents whose ability to evacuate may be compromised;
  • ensuring fire-safety instructions are provided to residents in a form that they can reasonably be expected to understand;
  • ensuring individual flat entrance doors, where the external walls of the building have unsafe cladding, comply with current standards.

FP621-2020 (reviewed and republished July 2021)

The opinions and views expressed in the above articles are those of the author only and are for guidance purposes only. The authors disclaim any liability for reliance upon those opinions and would encourage readers to rely upon more than one source before making a decision based on the information.