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How the new fire safety regulations impact you

24 April 2023

The Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022 came into force in January 2023, and they extend the duties and responsibilities that earlier regulations required landlords to follow. The new regulations were introduced following the findings of the Grenfell Tower Inquiry and aim to improve fire safety management in residential buildings.

Just like previous fire safety acts, the new regulations apply to all buildings in England that have two or more homes and a common area which residents would need to use to evacuate in the event of an emergency. We will be writing to all residents living in buildings that are covered by the new regulations to outline what they involve and what they mean for their homes and the services we deliver. Below is an overview of this information.

What are the new regulations?

One of the ways the new regulations differ from previous ones is that they introduce the role of the Responsible Person. The Responsible Person has to make sure that their organisation complies with this legislation. Network Homes is the Responsible Person for the homes we manage. This means we’re responsible for ensuring the following requirements are put in place for buildings with more than two homes and a common evacuation area:

  • residents receive and have access to relevant fire safety information
  • fire doors in communal areas are checked quarterly in all buildings over 11 metres in height
  • flat entrance fire doors are checked annually in all buildings over 11 metres in height
  • signage is installed in all buildings over 18 metres in height if the building was designed after November 2020. This signage assists the Fire & Rescue Service with navigating their way to flats within a building
  • lifts and essential firefighting equipment are inspected monthly
  • secure information boxes are installed in all buildings over 18 metres in height and the information included is regularly updated. This box is accessed by the Fire & Rescue Service, and it holds information such as floor plans and external wall information that they would need in the event of an emergency.

What we’re doing to implement the regulations

We already carry out a number of these requirements and have done for several years. We have worked hard over the last six months to put new processes and procedures in place to ensure that we meet all the requirements of the new legislation. Late last year, we announced that we have entered into a contract with Savills who will be partnering with Riskhub Limited to carry out the fire door inspections at all our buildings over 11 metres in height. We also have secure information boxes installed at all of our buildings over 18 metres in height and the information in these boxes has been updated to meet the guidance. Our lift maintenance contractor, RJ Lifts, is including the new firefighting lift testing requirements as part of their monthly servicing visit and our fire safety contractor, AJS, is already testing fire safety systems and equipment such as fire alarms, automatic opening vents (AOVs) and sprinklers in line with the guidance.

Your safety is a key priority for us so we are making efforts to go above and beyond the legal requirements, for example by installing safety signage at all of our buildings over 18 metres in height. These signs are currently on order and we expect the installation of these signs to be completed by the end of May 2023. As well as writing to all the residents affected by the new regulations, we have a wealth of regularly updated resident fire safety information available on our website which you can view here. We are also in the process of reviewing our new tenancy processes to ensure that new residents have all the relevant fire safety information about their new home as is required in the legislation.

How we can work together to ensure your safety

We are thorough in our efforts to make sure that any fire safety issues are resolved as soon as possible such as fire door repairs. We also have a number of proactive assessments, checks and services in place ensure that our systems do not fail and need repair such as our fire alarm testing programme. Some of these programmes require access to your home to complete the necessary tests and checks and it can be difficult to gain access on occasion. We encourage you to let our contractors into your home so we can carry out these essential works and ensure your ongoing safety. If your appointment is not convenient, then please contact us and we will try our best to accommodate a new date and time.

As a last resort, if we cannot get in touch with you to arrange your appointment, we may need to seek an injunction to complete the work which can leave residents liable for legal costs. Please make sure your contact details with us are kept up to date so these fire safety checks can be completed as smoothly as possible.

If you would like to know more about our fire safety checks, and read some useful tips for reducing the risk of fire in your home, then please visit our page of fire safety tips by clicking this link.

Fire doors

Residents play an important part in maintaining the effectiveness of fire doors in their buildings. You can help us ensure that your fire doors are working as they should be by always keeping them shut when not in use so they can be effective in the event of a fire. We also advise you and any visitors you have to not tamper with the self-closing devices on fire doors.

Please contact us if you see a damaged fire door or notice any faults with fire doors. If you are unsure of what to look for, please use the 5 Step Check of checking the gaps, seals, hinges, self-closer and whether the door closes and report any issues immediately. You can find out more information about the 5 step check by visiting: www.networkhomes.org.uk/5stepcheck

If you would like to read more about the The Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022 please visit:
Check your fire safety responsibilities under the Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022 - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

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