Changes to the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (RRO) come into force in January 2023. The changes under Article 24 cement the legal requirements for Responsible Persons to carry out regular inspections and maintenance of fire doors. It applies to multi-occupancy residential buildings in England over 11 metres (more than three storeys).
Article 24 of the RRO now requires, in law, the Responsible Person to provide information to Fire and Rescue Services to assist them to plan for the event of fire and, if needed, to provide an effective operational response. This will now include a requirement for them to:
•undertake quarterly checks of all fire doors (including self-closing devices) in the common parts
•undertake – on a best endeavour basis – annual checks of all flat entrance doors (including self-closing devices) that lead onto a building’s common parts.
This will bring the RRO into line with the Fire Safety Act 2021, removing the legal ambiguity over whether flat entrance doors that open into common parts should be routinely considered as part of the fire risk assessment process. While the changes to the RRO only refer to buildings over 11m, the Responsible Persons for residential buildings below that height still have a duty to install and maintain general fire precautions in including making sure that all fire doors – including flat entrance doors – provide adequate protection. The changes to the RRO do not remove or replace these legal obligations.
The most straightforward way for a Responsible Person to demonstrate that the fire doors are compliant and properly maintained is to have a formal fire door register that records inspection and maintenance records, maintaining the Golden Thread and providing an audit trail for every single door to ensure total compliance throughout its life. These inspections need to be carried out by a third-party accredited specialist companies for assured compliance.
A Fact Sheet to help guide Responsible Persons through the new regulations can be found at https://tinyurl.com/rweaatcr