Residential asset management and operating partner Ringley Group advises building owners to begin implementing fire safety assessments across their portfolios or risk legal proceedings, with new regulations from the Fire Safety Act now enforced.
Written into law in May 2021, the Fire Safety Act asserts that all communal and flat entrance doors and building structures – including balconies, cladding, insulation, fixings and other common parts – fall within the Fire Safety Order of 2005. New measures mean they are subjected to new fire safety assessment criteria, require regular inspections, and that building remediation must be undertaken if they fail to meet new standards. Inspections became law on 23 January 2023 and are already required in Wales.
Non-compliance could result in penalties, reports to the Fire Service and/or local authority, court orders, and in extreme cases, forfeiture.
The Act distinguishes between buildings under and over 11m, which are measured from street level to where a person stands on the top floor. Legislation goes further for +11m buildings – communal fire door inspections are demanded every quarter compared to six months in sub 11m buildings, while residents’ fire doors must be assessed annually.
Ringley, whose full asset lifecycle expertise includes operational management and compliance issues, has inspected almost 1,000 doors across the UK in the last four months following the creation of its tech suite of Fire Door Inspection products. Complete with an app, reporting systems, QR code technology, and individual PASS or FAIL certificates for each owner, residents can book fire door inspections, with those looking to sell assisted by proof of compliance. Lettings teams can also use inspection certificates to illustrate building safety to tenants, and to establish a Bill of Quantities to make tendering repairs easier for themselves and the contractor.
“Operational real estate is fundamentally about two things: hospitality and compliance. The Fire Safety Act and the government’s golden thread principle have rightly forced building owners to take a firmer and more strategic stance across issues relating to the safety of their residents.
“Safety matters have significant implications for cap-ex plans, and we urge investors to consider the available technological solutions to help them calculate budgets more accurately, have a live view of their buildings’ safety, and mitigate future risks.”Mary-Anne Bowring, Group Managing Director, Ringley Group
Ringley works with organisations including Europa Capital, Patrizia and Rise Homes, and has £6bn across 13,500 mixed-tenure homes under management.