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This publication is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/fire-safety-england-regulations-2022/fact-sheet-secure-information-box-regulation-4
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 existing high-rise residential buildings[footnote 1] in England to have a secure information box installed on the premises.
The regulations will require the responsible person to install a suitably secure information box in or on their high-rise building. They will also be required to provide in the box:
- Their UK contact details
- The UK contact details of any other person who has the facilities to and is permitted to access the building as the responsible person considers appropriate
- Copies of the building’s floor plans – which identify specified key fire-fighting equipment
- A single page block plan - which identifies specified key fire-fighting equipment
Access should be given to the fire and rescue service. Boxes should be maintained, and their contents kept up to date in line with the duties imposed by the regulations and the Fire Safety Order.
Why are we doing it?
Secure information boxes are easily identifiable repositories for documents intended for use by the fire and rescue service during a fire.
The Grenfell Tower Inquiry Phase 1 report highlighted that the lack of on-site information available to London Fire Brigade on the night could have further hampered their response had the layout of the building been more complex. The Inquiry recommended that the owner and manager of all high-rise residential buildings be required by law to ensure that the building contains a secure information box (Recommendation 33.12(b))[footnote 2]
Whilst the regulations will require responsible persons to proactively send the fire and rescue service relevant information electronically[footnote 3], there is still a practical use to the fire and rescue service in having some of this information available in hard copy on site.
In order to keep this information safe and secure a lockable, secure information box should be installed and access given to the fire and rescue service either by a copy of the key, or the access key-code, being shared with them.
Hard copies of plans
The fire and rescue service have told us that during a fire hard copies of building plans are helpful in aiding their operational response. This allows first attending crews to be able to understand the layout of the building and to respond effectively through use of these plans in a dynamic environment without having to rely on technology.
Location of and security of the boxes
The regulations require the box to be suitable for the purpose for which it is intended and should be reasonably secure from vandalism and unauthorised access. The information in the boxes is information only of use by and interest for the fire and rescue service. Access should be provided to the fire and rescue service.
Chapters 2-4 of “The Code of Practice for the Provision of Premises Information Boxes in Residential Buildings” produced jointly by the FIA and the NFCC sets out good practice on secure locations to install information boxes: PIBS_Guide_06-21_V2.pdf (nationalfirechiefs.org.uk). The regulations do not require a responsible person to include in the box any personal or sensitive information about residents.
Under the Fire Safety Order responsible persons already have a duty to maintain in an efficient state and in efficient working order and in good repair any facilities, equipment or devices used by fire-fighters[footnote 4].
As a minimum, the regulations require a responsible person to inspect the secure information box annually and ensure that its contents are up to date.
As defined in The Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022 as a building at least 18 metres in height or at least seven storeys. ↩
Copies of a high-rise building’s floor plans and information about the make-up of the building’s external wall system. ↩