What is the Fire Safety Act 2021?

This act was put into legislation through the Royal Assent that was started in October 2021 and is one of the few types of fire safety regulations for landlords. It includes all of the laws that are to do with the fire safety order of 2005 too so is fairly important in determining fire safety,

In buildings that have multiple occupants in particular, the act tries to reduce the risk of fire by managing risk and states that this must be enforced by the fire service.

fire safety extinguisher

Who exactly does the Fire Safety Act 2021 apply to?

In England and Wales the fire safety act applies, it also applies specifically to buildings that have multiple residents in one building such as a HMO property or a build to rent development.

If you are the property manager or landlord of one of these properties then it is made clear by the law that it is you who has to make sure that a property complies with the fire safety act 2012.

If you don’t you may have to pay a fine or make sure that you attend court with the local authority of where your building is or a tenant as this means you’re in breach of a tenancy agreement.

Only property that is deemed safe and able to house a tenant safely should be able to have an assured tenancy shorthold agreement signed with it.

What does it mean to be a responsible person?

A responsible person is anyone who owns or manages a high-rise, multi-occupancy residential structure that is more than 18 metres tall. 

This means ensuring that there are regular inspections of the property and that there are also lifts and the landlord reports the results of any fire assessment to the local Fire and Rescue Service.

On top of this, as well as reporting the results to the local Fire and Rescue Service, making sure evacuation plans are up-to-date, creating personal evacuation plans for vulnerable residents, providing fire safety instructions in a clear and understandable form for residents is also required.

Finally, a responsible person must make sure there is an individual flat entrance door that meets the current standards for approval. 

It’s crucial to remain on top of these tasks to guarantee the safety of inhabitants and comply with rules as the failure to do so could result in the local authority seizing a property and fining you if you’re not complying with the law.

The new responsibility laws are in both the fire safety act of 2001 and the regulatory reform fire safety order 2005. They clarify who is responsible for maintaining safety and brings in a new age of accountability for landlords. 

From the design and construction of a structure through to occupation, it’s apparent who is liable and this is the risk that landlords have to take. 

It is recommended that you check your Fire Risk Assessment which is something that is given to you by a fire safety assessor.

Depending on the type of property you have, you may have to verify that they include external walls and individual entrance doors, aligning your fire risk assessment with the proposed Act. 

This is due to the fact that the new law gives fire and rescue agencies the ability to enforce standards and hold building owners accountable if they do not comply so it is necessary to see what part of a building is covered and a landlord is responsible for first. 

Now that financial and criminal responsibility is at stake, it is vital to ensure that your home portfolio is compliant.

fire safety report 2021

What are the risks for Responsible Persons?

The Fire Safety Act will increase the responsibility of building owners and managers as they have to take on more and adopt a lot more stress and risk. 

As a result, fire risk assessments will need to take into account additional factors such as elevators, evacuation strategies, and fire safety instructions for occupants. Extra safety precautions may be required to comply with the legislation.

After the Fire Safety Act is finalised, it is critical for responsible individuals to get acquainted with the government’s risk-based guidelines as they will be able to fully comprehend their duties and take the required procedures to comply with the law. 

They can then demonstrate compliance with the legislation if requested by the Fire Service as this is going to become a common practice as fire services do their bit to put landlords under pressure to enforce the law.

There is also the additional risk that if a landlord doesn’t follow the law in the right way they will have to face a fine which could be detrimental for a landlord’s property business.

As well as this, if a landlord puts off any repairs to bring their property up to speed till the last minute, they run the risk of being in negative cash flow for the year and potentially having to delay mortgage payments.

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What happens if the responsible person doesn’t comply with the fire safety act 2021?

Building fire laws have always been difficult to enforce, especially when seeking to hold individuals accountable. 

The Fire Safety Act, on the other hand, intends to streamline this procedure and make it simpler for Fire Authorities to identify wrongdoing and take appropriate action as the act includes criminal penalties such as substantial fines and lengthy prison sentences.

Depending on the seriousness of the violation it’s worth mentioning that the Building Safety Act 2022 has now been included to the Fire Safety Act.

This new legislation is intended to improve building and fire safety throughout England, with the primary purpose of making inhabitants and occupants feel comfortable in their houses.

The Building Safety Act additionally specifies additional rules that building owners and safety managers must adhere to in order to be in compliance with the law.

These new rules include producing safety case reports, adopting the “golden thread” of information, and establishing a Responsible Person to manage the building’s fire and structural safety concerns on a daily basis.

fire safety 2021

What changes do you need to make in order to comply with the Fire Safety Act?

The Fire Safety Act from the regulatory reform fire safety order 2005 is now in effect, and it is critical that it be followed. 

While it is not required, if you are deemed a ‘Responsible Person,’ it is strongly advised that you use the Guidelines and the prioritising tool to demonstrate that you are in compliance with the Fire Safety Order. 

If you do not comply, you run the possibility of facing enforcement action or perhaps prosecution, especially in light of the recent tragedy.

Prioritising fire risk assessments and overall fire strategy is critical. This includes the building structure, exterior walls, common spaces, doors, balconies, and cladding. 

The Guideline states that new guidance may be forthcoming, so it’s critical to remain up to speed and make any required modifications.

The Building Safety Act 2022 varies from the Fire Safety Act 2021 in that it merely enhances the obligations of current Responsible People. 

It makes no mention of who will cover the price of any additional steps required to comply with the Fire Safety Regulation.

What exactly is a fire risk assessment prioritisation tool (FRAPT)

FRAPT, an online application, may help Responsible People (RPs) prioritise their fire risk assessments. 

The application provides a score and priority rating after answering a series of questions regarding the building, allowing RPs to focus their attention on the structures most at danger of fire.

It is critical to emphasise that the tool should not be viewed as a replacement for a competent and complete fire risk assessment, which should always be carried out in accordance with the Fire Safety Regulation 2005. 

The FRAPT, on the other hand, may undoubtedly assist responsible people in focusing their efforts on the most susceptible structures.

The FRAPT is a series of questions that examine numerous elements that may enhance the danger of a fire. Each question is assessed, and the overall score is used to determine the building’s priority grade.

Does the fire safety act 2021 replace the fire safety order?

Yes, the fire safety act 2021 replaces the one in 2005 as a more up to date version of the law. It mainly clarifies the rules around the responsible people part of the law

How did Grenfell impact these regulations?

The Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022, adopted under Article 24 of the Fire Safety Order, are a key step towards adopting the recommendations of the Grenfell Tower Inquiry Phase 1 report. 

They create a more comprehensive legislative framework to supplement and strengthen the Fire Safety Order.

The new legislation would make it a legal requirement for “Responsible People” in high-rise flat buildings to submit essential information to Fire and Rescue Services. 

This will assist them in planning and carrying out an efficient response in the case of a fire or disaster.

Furthermore, depending on the height of the structure, additional procedures will be necessary as while some laws apply regardless of building height, extra precautions are implemented once the building reaches 11 metres. 

There are additional rules for structures 18 metres (or seven stories) or taller. The restrictions will only apply to England, and their implementation is scheduled to begin on January 23, 2023.

It is critical to review these new regulations and make any required modifications before they go into force. Nonetheless, the government suggests sending electronic information to local Fire and Rescue Services closer to the effective date of the regulations.

fire safety regulations in the UK

When will any new changes come into effect?

In January 2023, it will be a requirement for fire safety regulations to come into effect as this is where owners of high rise buildings with multiple occupants will have to take responsibility and provide all the required information of their building to their local fire department.

This is after pressure from the government for landlords to make changes to their building and coordinate with the fire service in a more efficient way following the deaths of multiple residents during Grenfell tower.

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As well as this change, there is also the building safety fund which was introduced as a series funding for landlords in hopes to replace any dangerous cladding that is currently a fire risk throughout the UK.

This scheme, in combination with new fire regulations in the fire safety act 2021 will hopefully reduce the risk of a large-scale fire that is extremely dangerous for multiple residents living in the same building.

In conclusion

Wrapping things up, The Fire Safety Act 2021 is an essential law that attempts to lower the danger of fire in multi-occupancy buildings, and it applies to landlords and property managers in England and Wales. 

The Act specifies who is responsible for ensuring fire safety, and failing to comply may result in penalties and property confiscation by the local authorities. 

Regular inspections, up-to-date evacuation plans, clear fire safety instructions, and individual flat entry doors that fulfil current approval criteria are also required. 

Landlords should review their Fire Risk Assessment to determine which parts of a building are protected and which are their responsibility first.

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andreas gerazis

Andreas Gerazis

Experienced landlord

Andreas is a certified landlord with extensive knowledge about the UK property market as he has been actively investing for half a decade. Founder of the first three-in-one property management software, Lofti Proptech, Andreas has a brilliant understanding of the details surrounding what it takes to grow and run a thriving property portfolio.