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This publication is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/fire-safety-england-regulations-2022/fact-sheet-lifts-and-essential-fire-fighting-equipment-regulation-7
Regulations made under Article 24 of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005
Purpose of this fact sheet
This fact sheet is not guidance and should not be read as such. It is intended to provide information about the regulations to residents and other interested parties.
What are we going to do?
The Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022 will make it a legal requirement from 23 January 2023 for responsible persons in high-rise residential buildings[footnote 1] to undertake additional monthly checks[footnote 2] of any lifts within the building that are designed, installed and maintained to be used by fire-fighters (with the addition of evacuation lifts) and of the mechanism which allows fire-fighters to take control of lifts. Monthly checks will also be required on all evacuation lifts. Checks at the same frequency will be applied to key fire-fighting equipment (which is defined in the regulations).
Where responsible persons identify, either through the monthly checks or via any other routine checks, that a relevant lift or mechanism has a fault or is out of service, they must report it to the local fire and rescue service electronically. Responsible persons will be required to record the outcome of these monthly checks in an open and transparent way that is accessible to residents (for example by posting them on a notice board or making them available to a resident’s association).
Under the Fire Safety Order checks on lifts and the equipment should already be taking place. These Regulations add to, they do not replace, responsible persons existing duties under the Fire Safety Order. All lifts including secondary or back up power supplies as well as any other fire-fighting equipment should already be subject to a suitable programme of maintenance and inspection.
Why are we doing it?
The Grenfell Tower Inquiry noted in the Phase 1 report that “When the firefighters attended the fire at Grenfell Tower, they were unable to operate the mechanism that should have allowed them to take control of the lifts.” The Inquiry recommended (Recommendations 33.13(a) and (b)) that the owner and manager of every high-rise residential building be required by law to carry out regular inspections of any lifts that are designed to be used by firefighters and to report these results to the fire and rescue service at monthly intervals and that they also be required to undertake tests of the mechanism which allows firefighters to take control of the lifts and to inform the fire rescue service monthly that they have undertaken them[footnote 3].
These regulations will help prevent similar situations as the Fire and Rescue Service in the majority of cases will know before arrival that a lift intended for their use in an emergency is out of service and plan accordingly. The regulations go further than the inquiry by requiring responsible persons to carry out monthly checks on key fire-fighting equipment. In addition to informing their local fire and rescue service electronically within the 24-hour exception period of faults, once a defect is found responsible persons should consider placing signs on/by the defective lifts and fire-fighting equipment regardless of the time it is expected to take to fix the fault. Responsible persons should also, as they are required to do now, consider whether the fault would require an update to be made to their building’s fire risk assessment and act accordingly to ensure that they are compliant with their duties under the Fire Safety Order.
Monthly checks will be recorded in a transparent way that is accessible to residents. This will reassure residents and provide them with the information they need to hold responsible persons who do not comply with this duty to account.
Requirement to check fire-fighting equipment
The responsible person will be required to check other essential firefighting equipment once a month and take necessary steps to fix them. Guidance will specify which pieces of equipment are subject to a visual inspection or other check, but it is not the intention of these regulations to require responsible persons to engage specialists to undertake these checks.
Definition of “essential fire-fighting equipment”
What the regulations mean by “essential fire-fighting equipment” includes both equipment provided in buildings to fight fires and important fire safety features and facilities. The regulations provide a clear list of what a Responsible Person will be required to check. These are:
- lifts for use by fire fighters
- evacuation lifts
- inlets for dry-rising mains
- inlets for wet-rising mains
- outlets for dry-rising mains
- outlets for wet-rising mains
- smoke control systems
- suppression systems
- fire detection and fire alarm systems including any detectors linked to ancillary equipment such as smoke control systems (in the common parts),
- evacuation alert systems
- automatic door release mechanisms linked to fire alarm systems
Responsible persons will also be expected to report on any damage they discover during checks to the firefighting shaft during construction activity or by any other activity, such as vandalism (removed doors, smashed glass or other failure that allows smoke spread).
Definition of “lift for use by firefighters”
The regulations set out what is meant by a lift for use by firefighters. These include firefighting lifts, as well as fireman’s lifts. Further information on identifying lifts can be found on the LEIA website.
Responsible persons are not required to report faults in passenger lifts which are not for use by firefighters, do not have a switch control to allow firefighters to take control or cannot be used as evacuation lifts to the fire and rescue service.
Requirement to report faults to the fire and rescue service
Responsible persons will not have to inform their local fire and rescue service immediately regarding a relevant fault if they believe it can be resolved within the 24-hour exception reporting timeframe. If the issue cannot be resolved in 24 hours, they must report it to the fire and rescue service as soon as practicable. The responsible person is required to arrange for the issue to be fixed and report back to the fire and rescue service once resolved.
Responsible persons should consider the impact of the fault and inform the fire and rescue service of the impact (of a lift failure, for example). Responsible persons should also, as they are required to do now, consider whether the fault would require an update to be made to their building’s fire risk assessment and act accordingly to ensure that they are compliant with their duties under the Fire Safety Order.
As defined in The Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022 as a building at least 18 metres in height or at least seven storeys ↩
Checks should follow BS 8899 (once revised) but in the meantime advice on checks can be found on the Lift and Escalator Industry Association (LEIA) website ↩