Fire Safety – Likely changes arising out of the Fire Safety Bill

Following the well-publicised review into the Grenfell fire, the Government have put forward proposals for a new Fire Safety Bill which will make changes to the 2005 Regulatory Reform Fire Safety Order. The proposed changes will affect all residential blocks of flats, no matter the height, number of flats or materials used in the construction.

One of the most significant changes relates to fire doors – it is proposed that the new Regulations should provide a clearer legal obligation to ensure that all doors are safe and up to current standards. It is likely that a fire door survey will be required and that this is best undertaken as part of the periodic fire risk assessment. However it is important to note that this survey will also include the front door to each and every flat.

Some of the things that a surveyor will be looking for when inspecting your doors will include:

  • Hinges – they will check if there are three hinges fitted, which bear the CE mark and that no screws are missing.
  • Gaps – the door should fit the frame, so the inspector will be checking for any large gaps around the doors.
  • Glazing – if the door has a glazed panel(s), the inspector will be looking to see that the glass is either Georgian wired or has a special fire-resistant glazing fitted.
  • Self-closing – the inspector will be checking for either an overhead door closer or a hinge type chain closer.
  • British Standard – at the door itself complies with the required standard to provide a minimum 30 minute firebreak and has sufficient smoke seals.

Where any improvements are required then the inspector will list these on a flat by flat basis in order that the necessary arrangements can be made. In anticipation of the new Regulations, and in the interest of fire safety we would recommend that you have a look at your own front door to ensure that it meets the basic requirements set out above . The new Fire Safety Bill is expected to be enacted towards the end of the year; once the new Regulations come into force we will provide a further update and any other changes that may impact you and your home.