The Government consulted on its proposals to implement this recommendation in its Fire Safety Consultation (carried out in 2020). The Government responded to the consultation last year (link).
The Fire Safety Act (FSA) achieved Royal Assent on 29 April 2021, which clarified the scope of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (Fire Safety Order) as including the external walls (including cladding and balconies) and flat entrance doors for premises containing two or more sets of domestic premises.
The Government has now commenced the Fire Safety Act on 16 May 2022. This means we have published new guidance in support of the Fire Safety Act and launched the Fire Risk Assessment Prioritisation Tool (FRAPT).
This will now remove legal ambiguity and require responsible persons to update Fire Risk Assessments to take account of external walls and flat entrance doors. The FRAPT will help responsible persons identify which buildings should have their Fire Risk Assessments updated first.
The September 2021 edition of the thematic update stated that Government intended to lay regulations under article 24 of the Fire Safety Order in Autumn 2021 which would implement this recommendation. Ahead of laying these regulations, Section One of the Fire Safety Act 2021 needed to be commenced.
Commencement of the Fire Safety Act has allowed the Government to lay The Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022 (available on legislation.gov.uk).
Under the Regulations, the responsible person for all multi-occupied residential buildings over 11 metres and above must undertake quarterly checks on fire doors in common parts and annual checks, on a best endeavour basis, on all flat entrance doors.
Responsible persons must make a record of their attempts to check flat entrance doors.
In its consultation, the Government sought views on proposals for a reasonable and practicable level of checks proportionate to the risk. In line with the Inquiry’s additional recommendation on fire doors, (recommendation 33.30), where unsafe cladding is incorporated into external walls. Under the Fire Safety Order, responsible persons have a duty to take general fire precautions, which include ensuring that fire doors in their building are in good order. Following commencement of the Fire Safety Act it is clear that this duty extends to flat entrance doors.
The Regulations will become law after a period of 40 days from 18 May subject to parliamentary approval. This will happen on 8 July 2022.
In order to allow responsible persons and the Fire and Rescue Service time to prepare and for supporting guidance to be published on the new duties imposed by the regulations, the new duties do not commence until 23 January 2023.