New fire safety regulations: a run-down of your responsibilities 

On 1 October 2023, the Home Office implemented amendments to Section 156 of the Building Safety Act 2022, strengthening fire safety regulations across England and Wales. The new rules are part of a phased fire safety reform programme, driven mainly by recommendations following the 2017 Grenfell disaster. 

  • Phase 1 established the Fire Safety Act 2021, which ensures blocks of flats are properly assessed for fire safety risks. 
  • Phase 2 – the Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022 – made residential buildings safer for occupants and responding firefighters.  
  • Phase 3 introduces revisions to Section 156 of the Building Safety Act 2022. 

The revisions apply to all buildings regulated by the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (FSO). This framework governs fire safety in all non-domestic premises, including workplaces and shared areas of multi-occupied residential buildings in England and Wales. 

The updated rules will trigger new responsibilities for many employers, particularly small business owners. 

Improving how fire safety is assessed, tracked, communicated, and enforced    

The October 2023 amendments to Section 156 of the Building Safety Act 2022 primarily cover record keeping, risk assessments, and access to fire safety information. They aim to: 

  • Improve cooperation and coordination between responsible persons (RPs)
  • Introduce tighter tracking and wider sharing of fire safety information, creating a reliable record throughout a building’s lifespan
  • Make it easier for authorities to enforce fire safety regulations 
  • Provide residents with comprehensive information about their building’s fire safety 

New rules for risk assessments and fire safety arrangements

Under previous legislation, responsible persons (RPs) had to carry out suitable and sufficient fire risk assessments, but they weren’t held to any set timeframes or minimum qualifications. Similarly, the risk assessment only needed to be in writing if the responsible person employed five people or more. This has now changed. 

Under the new guidelines, risk assessments must: 

  • Identify all persons involved in completing or reviewing fire risk assessments 
  • Be conducted for all buildings under the FSO, regardless of size or headcount
  • Recorded in writing detailing all observations, not just significant findings

In addition to undertaking more comprehensive risk assessments, responsible persons must keep a record of their premises’ fire safety arrangements from 1 October. This will usually take the form of a fire safety policy that outlines your daily and overarching approach to fire safety and compliance.  

Boosting cooperation and coordination between responsible persons (RPs)

Many buildings have more than one responsible person, which can lead to knowledge and accountability gaps. The new rules set out requirements to share information with all other responsible persons in your building and keep a record of these exchanges. 

All responsible persons must share the following details with each other: 

  • Name 
  • UK address
  • Section of the building they are responsible for 

If you leave the building, you’re also obligated to share your fire safety policy and the details of other responsible persons with the new occupier. 

Keeping employees and residents informed about fire safety 

The new regulations build on previous requirements to keep residents informed about fire safety in their building, including emergency procedures and the importance of fire doors. 

From now on, responsible persons must share more exhaustive details about hazards, escalation points, and available resources to help occupants raise and address safety concerns. The newly required information includes: 

  • Risks to occupants identified in the fire risk assessment 
  • Fire safety measures in place to protect residents 
  • The name and UK address of the responsible person(s)
  • The names of those involved in drafting or reviewing the fire risk assessment 
  • The people nominated to implement fire fighting measures 
  • Any hazards identified by other responsible persons in the building 

Get expert support for fire safety compliance  

The government has increased maximum fines for selected fire offences, so complying with updates is crucial to fulfil your legal obligations, protect people and property, and maintain your reputation and business operations. 

Regularly reviewing and implementing fire safety measures is essential to reduce fire-related risks and promote a safe working environment. To ensure you’re operating in line with current regulations, speak to an Opus consultant about our fire safety services

Get in touch on 0330 043 4015 or email