Fact sheet: Wayfinding signage (regulation 8)

Updated 24 July 2023

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 we have done

The Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022 made it a legal requirement from 23 January 2023 for all high-rise residential buildings[footnote 1] in England to install wayfinding signage in their buildings. This includes clear markings identifying floor and individual flat numbers.

Why we did it

The Grenfell Tower Inquiry Phase 1 report noted that in the building, stairwell landings were not clearly marked with the relevant floor number and so fire-fighters were unable to easily identify floors when carrying out their duties. The Inquiry recommended (Recommendation 33.27) that in all high-rise buildings “floor numbers be clearly marked on each landing within the stairways and in a prominent place in all lobbies in such a way as to be visible both in normal conditions and in low lighting or smoky conditions.”[footnote 2]

Installing signage in existing high-rise residential buildings can, in the event of a fire, assist the Fire and Rescue Service in navigating their way round a building; even when visibility is low.

Signage requirement

Signage should conform to the specifications and location set out in paragraph 15.14 to 15.16 of Approved Document B Volume 1 2019 edition incorporating 2020 amendments (PDF, 3.01MB).

Why have you decided not to implement the proposal in the fire safety consultation?

The Inquiry did not recommend making installation of wayfinding signage a legal requirement but recommended that it should ideally be installed in all high-rise residential buildings. We are going further than the Inquiry recommended by requiring signage to be installed by law in all existing high-rise buildings.

We consider that in high-rise buildings the risk of fire fighters becoming disorientated in smoky conditions is greater than in smaller buildings and do not consider requiring the signage to be retrofitting in all existing multi-occupied residential buildings to be a sensible response.

Responsible persons may wish to consider installing such signage in any other existing multi-occupied residential building.

It is, however, already a legal requirement for all new multi-occupied residential buildings above 11 metres (including those existing buildings undergoing relevant material alterations), to have signage installed.

Existing duties under the Fire Safety Order will make sure that this signage is maintained throughout the life of the building.

  1. As defined by The Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022 as a building at least 18 metres in height or at least 7 storeys. 

  2. Pg. 778 HC 49-IV – The Grenfell Tower Inquiry: Phase 1 Report - Volume 4 of 4 (PDF, 6.40MB)