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Publish date

4 April 2024

Fire safety – What legislation applies to your building?

As part of the Government’s response to the Grenfell Tower tragedy new fire safety requirements came into force in England from 1 October 2023.

Section 156 of the Building Safety Act 2022 (BSA) amended the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (“the 2005 Order”) with the aim of improving fire safety in those buildings regulated by it.

History of fire safety legislation in England

Prior to the Grenfell disaster fire safety obligations were primarily contained in The 2005 Order.

Now obligations are imposed in three separate pieces of legislation. Depending on the nature of the building, more than one legislative regime may need to be complied with.

The three regimes that could apply are:

  1. The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (“2005 Order”)

The 2005 Order applies to almost all buildings, places and structures other than individual private homes (meaning individual flats in a block or family homes). It also applies to the common parts of buildings containing two or more domestic premises.

  1. The Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022 (“2022 Regulations”)

The 2022 Regulations include supplementary provisions for buildings containing two or more domestic premises.

  1. The Building Safety Act 2022 (“the BSA 2022”)

The BSA 2022 creates a bespoke safety regime for buildings that are at least 7 storeys or 18 metres in height and contain two residential units. These buildings are defined as higher-risk buildings by the BSA 2022. It should be noted that the safety obligations imposed by the BSA 2022 are not just restricted to fire safety, for example structural safety is also covered.

Buildings falling under the BSA 2022 will also be subject to the requirements of the 2005 Order and the 2022 Regulations.

This area has become increasingly complex and many building owners (even those who don’t own the taller Grenfell style higher-risk buildings) may now want to consider employing a fire safety expert to help them ensure their fire safety obligations are being fully met.

If you have any questions about how fire safety legislation has evolved in the past couple of years, please get in touch.

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