This guide is aimed at Responsible Persons carrying out simple fire door checks. It assumes that the fire risk assessment has already assessed the suitability of the fire doors.
The Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022
The Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022 came into force on 23rd January 2023. The regulations implement the majority of those recommendations made to government in the Grenfell Tower Inquiry Phase 1 report.
Responsible Persons are required to comply with the regulations. Any breach of the regulations is a criminal offence, if the breach places any relevant persons at risk of death or serious injury in the event of fire.
For further reading, please view the The Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022
About this guide
This guide is intended to assist those with duties under the Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022 to comply with regulation 10, which makes requirements about fire doors in all buildings containing two or more domestic premises and that contain common parts, through which residents would need to evacuate in a fire.
Regulation 10 makes requirements in relation to two matters, namely:
- information about flat entrance doors that the Responsible Person must give to all residents - this requirement relates to all blocks of flats
- routine checks of fire doors that the Responsible Person must ensure are carried out - these checks are only required in blocks of flats in which the top storey is more than 11m above ground level (typically, a building of more than four storeys)
For further reading, please view the The Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022 'about this guide'
What the law requires
The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 requires that, in a block of flats, there are suitable fire precautions in place to make sure that the common parts are safe to use as a means of escape in the event of fire.
Fire-resisting doors are one of the most important measures to safeguard the means of escape from fire.
Fire doors need to be maintained in good working order. Where it has been found that any existing doors are inadequate and need replacing, this must be done by a competent person.
For further reading, please view the The Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022 'What the law requires'
The role of fire doors
In general, fire doors within a block of flats fall into four categories, namely:
- Flat entrance doors
- Doors to stairways and lobbies (between corridors and stairways)
- Doors that sub-divide corridors
- Doors to plant rooms and cupboards
Fire doors help prevent the spread of fire and smoke into common parts, stairways and lobbies so they can safely be used by residents and others who might need to leave the building during a fire, and to assist firefighters during firefighting operations
For further reading, please see The role of fire doors
Information for residents: what you need to do
Regulation 10 requires that residents are given information that:
- Fire doors should be kept shut when not in use;
- Residents and their guests should not tamper with self-closing devices;
- Residents should report any fault or damage immediately to the Responsible Person.
Where a resident wants to alter or change their front door, this should be done with the knowledge and agreement of the Responsible Person.
For further reading, please see Information for residents: what you need to do
Routine checking of fire doors: what you need to do
Regulation 10 requires that, if the top storey of the building is above 11m in height the Responsible Person must:
- use best endeavours to check all flat entrance fire doors at least every 12 months; and
- carry out checks of any fire doors in communal areas at least every 3 months.
The checks should be simple and basic. You should not need to engage a specialist to carry these out.
Where the checks identify the need for repair or replacement however, this work must be undertaken by a competent contractor as soon as reasonably practicable.
For further reading, please click see Routine checking of fire doors: what you need to do
Fire doors checks are vital in making sure your block of flats is safe for residents. The checks are not a substitute for periodic assessment of fire doors by fire safety specialists (for example on a sampling basis during fire risk assessments).
However, the simple fire door checks described in this guide will enable you to discover, and put right, most of the rudimentary defects that prevent a fire door from doing its job.