After the devastating Grenfell Tower fire in 2017 and the subsequent industry lobbying and national inquiries that have followed, Regulation 10 will officially come into force on 23 January 2023. Our General Manager, Jonny Millard, explains how this new regulation will impact you and what you’ll need to do to comply.
Why is Regulation 10 coming into force?
In 2017, a major fire broke out in the 24-storey Grenfell Tower block of flats in North Kensington. Regarded as one of the UK’s worst modern disasters, the fire killed 72 people and left more than 70 with life-changing injuries.
The incident sent shockwaves throughout the community and prompted many fire safety professionals to lobby for better fire regulations for multi-storey buildings.
This led to swift action from the government who launched the Grenfell Tower Inquiry – a report to examine the circumstances leading up to and surrounding the fire. Unsurprisingly, the Inquiry recognised that the fire doors in Grenfell Tower didn’t act in the way that they should have done.
Because of this, the Inquiry recommended that owners and managers of every residential building containing separate dwellings carry out urgent inspections of all fire doors to ensure compliance. It also advised that regular checks be carried out to ensure all fire doors are fitted with an effective self-closing device which is in working order.
Meanwhile, Sajid Javid – Home Secretary at the time – ordered an independent review to examine building and fire safety regulations, with a focus on high-rise buildings.
Headed up by Dame Judith Hackitt, the Independent Review of Building Regulation and Fire Safety discovered issues in the way some high-rise buildings were built, managed and maintained. To address these issues, the report set out a number of policy proposals specifically related to high-rise buildings.
All of this has resulted in the arrival of Regulation 10 – a key piece of legislation that will place a greater onus on housing providers, developers and local authorities to ensure the fire doors in their multi-storey properties are fit for purpose.
The objective? To make sure residents in high-rise buildings are safe and that tragic incidents like the Grenfell Tower fire don’t happen again.
What is Regulation 10?
So, we know more about the events that have led to Regulation 10 coming into force. But what exactly is it? And what will it mean for you in practice?
As of 23 January 2023, The Fire Safety Regulations 2022 will make it a legal requirement for ‘responsible persons’ for all multi-occupied residential buildings in England with storeys over 11 metres in height 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
Historically, flat entrance doors in multi-occupied residential buildings may not have been routinely considered as part of the fire risk assessment process. But now, the Fire Safety Act 2021 has removed the legal ambiguity and confirms that flat entrance doors are indeed in the scope of the Fire Safety Order.
In addition, the regulations will require responsible persons to undertake ‘best endeavour’ annual checks of flat entrance doors and quarterly checks of communal doors in multi-occupied residential buildings above 11m.
The new legislation will also require you to provide residents of all multi-occupied residential buildings with information on the importance of fire doors to a building’s fire safety. This could include flyers through front doors, posters on notice boards or even regular resident meetings.
In doing so, the hope is that residents will have a deeper understanding of their role in keeping their buildings safe. And they will be more open to allowing building managers access to check their flat entrance doors.
What does a ‘best endeavour’ basis mean?
While Regulation 10 has cleared up some ambiguity, the legislation does include some terminology that could create a little confusion. For example, the use of the phrase ‘best endeavour’.
According to the government website, this means it will be down to you and your team to determine the best approach to engage with residents about gaining access to carry out the checks on flat entrance doors. This might be agreeing a date with residents in advance so that access can be granted.
If for whatever reason you’re unable to gain access, you will have to gather evidence of the steps you’ve taken to engage with the resident. For example, correspondence between you and the resident seeking permission to gain access.
What happens if I don’t comply?
To put it simply, if you choose not to comply with Regulation 10, then you are choosing to put lives at risk. Fire doors play an integral role in any building’s fire protection system, and it’s critical that the fire doors in your building are in working order.
Failing to comply could also lead to hefty fines and prison sentences, impacting your reputation, profits, and the livelihoods of those who work for you.
What should I do next?
Under the new regulation, the minimum requirement is for the responsible person to undertake an inspection of the doors to identify any obvious damage or issues.
You should consider the following:
- If there have been any alterations or damage to a door’s glazing apertures or air transfer grille
- If there are any gaps around the door frame and the seals and hinges are fitted correctly
- That the door closer shuts the door
- That the door closes correctly around the whole frame
- That there is no visible damage (either deliberate or from wear and tear) to the door or door closer
The good news is you won’t need to engage a specialist for the checks themselves. But relevant training will help improve your skills, knowledge and competency when carrying out these inspections.
However, if you do identify any issues from your checks, the legislation recommends undertaking more detailed inspections, preferably with the help of a specialist.
What training is available?
At UK Fire Door Training, we’ve designed a training course specifically to help you carry out fire door inspections in compliance with Regulation 10. Ideal for all housing providers, housing associations and local authorities with buildings over 11 metres in England, the training will help you:
- Recognise the importance and role of fire doors
- Describe what fire doors are and explain how they work
- Identify the laws, regulations and standards that affect fire doors
- Explain your role and responsibility as a competent person
- Inspect a fire door for a Regulation 10 inspection
- Describe what you need to do as an organisation to keep your residents safe
All our courses take place online, allowing you to learn at your own pace from wherever you’re based. Plus, you’ll have lifetime access to the training materials, so you’ll always have something to refer back to.
We’re also an official CPD provider, which can help you demonstrate your commitment to improving your knowledge and skills and maintaining competence – as recommended in the British Standards Institution PAS 8673:2022.
To book your place on our Regulation 10 course, click here.