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Plans

Theme 3

Plans

Last updated: 01 August 2022

Recommendation

33.12a

That the owner and manager of every high-rise residential building be required by law to provide their local fire and rescue services with up-to-date plans in both paper and electronic form of every floor of the building identifying the location of key fire safety systems.

Progress date:

18 May 2022

Responsible for completion:

  • Government

Progress

Status

Complete

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).

In the last thematic update (published in September 2021), we reported that the Government had intended at the time to lay regulations under article 24 of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 later that year to implement this recommendation. Ahead of laying these regulations, Section One of the Fire Safety Act 2021 had to be commenced. The Fire Safety Act was commenced in full on 16 May 2022. Commencement of the 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 a high-rise residential building must prepare a plan for each floor of the building. This plan should show, alongside the layout of the relevant floor, the location of all lifts and main fire-fighting equipment for the building. Where the layout for two or more floors are identical, the responsible person can produce a single plan (as long as they clearly indicate the floors to which that plan relates). The responsible person must send these plans electronically to their local fire and rescue service.

In addition to this plan, the responsible person for a high-rise residential building must, under the Regulations, prepare an additional hard copy single page building plan to show the environs of the building, as well as the location of fire-fighting facilities and information useful to the fire and rescue service.  

Also, under the Regulations, the responsible person for a high-rise residential building must install a secure information box in or on the premises. This secure information box should contain hard copies of the building floor plans, the single page building plan and the UK contact details of the responsible person and any other individual the responsible person considers appropriate.  

In addition to this, the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) consulted on the proposal to recommend secure information boxes in new blocks of flats through an update to Building Regulation guidance document Approved Document B (ADB). DLUHC intend to amend ADB to recommend that secure information boxes be installed in all new high-rise residential buildings.

The Regulations completed their parliamentary process on 6 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.

Recommendation

33.12b

That the owner and manager of every high-rise residential building be required by law to ensure that the building contains a premises information box, the contents of which must include a copy of the up-to-date floor plans and information about the nature of any lift intended for use by the fire and rescue services.

Progress date:

18 May 2022

Responsible for completion:

  • Government

Progress

Status

Complete

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).

In the last thematic update (published in September 2021), we reported that the Government had intended at the time to lay regulations under article 24 of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 later that year to implement this recommendation. Ahead of laying these regulations, Section One of the Fire Safety Act 2021 had to be commenced. The Fire Safety Act was commenced in full on 16 May 2022. Commencement of the 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 a high-rise residential building must prepare a plan for each floor of the building. This plan should show, alongside the layout of the relevant floor, the location of all lifts and main fire-fighting equipment for the building. Where the layout for two or more floors are identical, the responsible person can produce a single plan (as long as they clearly indicate the floors to which that plan relates). The responsible person must send these plans electronically to their local fire and rescue service.

In addition to this plan, the responsible person for a high-rise residential building must, under the Regulations, prepare an additional hard copy single page building plan to show the environs of the building, as well as the location of fire-fighting facilities and information useful to the fire and rescue service.  

Also, under the Regulations, the responsible person for a high-rise residential building must install a secure information box in or on the premises. This secure information box should contain hard copies of the building floor plans, the single page building plan and the UK contact details of the responsible person and any other individual the responsible person considers appropriate.  

In addition to this, the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) consulted on the proposal to recommend secure information boxes in new blocks of flats through an update to Building Regulation guidance document Approved Document B (ADB). DLUHC intend to amend ADB to recommend that secure information boxes be installed in all new high-rise residential buildings.

The Regulations completed their parliamentary process on 6 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.

Recommendation

33.12c

That all fire and rescue services be equipped to receive and store electronic plans and to make them available to incident commanders and control room managers

Progress date:

April 2023

Responsible for completion:

  • Fire and Rescue Services

Progress

Status for fire and rescue services

In progress

Status for London Fire Brigade

In progress

In March 2022, the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) surveyed all fire and rescue services (with the exception of the LFB) in England about their progress against recommendation 33.12c. Every service reported they are equipped to receive and store electronic plans.

In terms of making these plans on high rise residential buildings (HRRBs) available to control room managers and to personnel on the incident ground, including the incident commanders, as well as ensuring that operational risk information for high-risk HRRBs is accurate, the NFCC survey found:

  • 77% of services (33 services) said that risk information for high rise residential buildings in their service areas were available to personnel on the incident ground. These services also report that they have reviewed all high-risk HRRB information in their service area. This represents a 25% increase from the previous NFCC survey completed in July 2021.
  • 21% of services (nine services) said that risk information for high rise residential buildings in their service areas were available to personnel on the incident ground. These services also report that they have reviewed all high-risk HRRB information in their service area but not all have appropriate plans. Actions are underway to address this, and these services report they will have completed this recommendation by the end of April 2022
  • The remaining service (2%) has stated that some high risk HRRBs do not have risk information, but an action plan is in place and this recommendation will be completed within 24 months.

To fully address this recommendation, the NFCC recommend that operational risk information for high-risk high-rise residential buildings are accurate and contain all the pertinent information.

Due to the number of buildings and other risks in a fire services response area it is challenging to ensure all relevant operational risk information, plans and other information remains accurate. The responsible person for the building must ensure fire risk assessments and all relevant actions including the provision of plans and other information is completed. The changes in legislation (for recommendations 33.12a and 33.12b) support fire and rescue services ensuring that appropriate information is available to emergency responders.

London Fire Brigade report that the completion of recommendation 33.12c will be incorporated into the Brigade’s OneRisk solution.

The completion of the OneRisk project will contribute to the effective storage and dissemination of electronic plans and amalgamate all relevant building related risk information into a single system. The OneRisk project is currently in Phase 2 (Procurement), although some workstreams from Phase 1 (Requirements Gathering) require completion.

Whilst this project is ongoing, the Brigade has in place an interim solution to improve how it gathers, records and disseminates information on buildings provided by building owners and managers.