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New fire safety regulations for holiday lets

Posted: Wed, 18th Oct 2023

On 1 October 2023 the UK government issued new regulations on fire safety guidance for holiday homes in England. These guidelines are in place to keep both guests and properties safe, so it is important to know and understand the changes.

Additionally, the government has issued new guidance for ‘small paying guest accommodation’ which can be found here. We have summarised the key points below.

Fire Risk Assessments

Full-length, written assessments covering all aspects of fire risk became a legal requirement as of 1 October 2023. A copy of this Fire Risk Assessment (FRA) should be displayed in your property. It is recommended that this assessment be carried out by a professional company that is fully compliant with FRA regulations and can demonstrate they are competent to consider all risks.  For larger or more complex properties it is extremely unlikely the owner will have the experience to thoroughly and sufficiently evaluate the level of risk.

Emergency Escape Lighting

This is required in bedrooms and along escape routes. It can be done with plug-in torches; however, larger properties may need full escape lighting.

Escape Routes and Fire Doors

Protected escape routes must have doors with a 30-minute protection capability. Or an adaptation that provides this level of protection.

Smoke Detectors

Linked hard-wired smoke detectors will be required in all bedrooms and living rooms as well as protected escape routes, including hallways, corridors, staircases, sitting rooms and dining rooms leading to the main fire exit. Larger properties or those with complex layouts may need more sophisticated detection systems.

Hot Water and Heating Systems

These must be inspected annually. This includes systems powered by renewable energy e.g. air/ground source heat pumps.

Chimneys

Should be swept annually.

Thumb Turn Locks

These are now strongly recommended on all exit doors. There are very few instances where it would be deemed unnecessary to fit these and they can usually be retro-fitted to most doors easily.

Checks and maintenance

Checks should be conducted at each changeover – alarms tested, checking the operation of fire doors and for any obstructions, for example. Keep a log of all checks and maintenance.

Candles

Should be prohibited and a clear policy is required for all guests.

EICR (fixed wiring check)

This is required every five years.

What to do next

We would advise your Fire Risk Assessment be undertaken by a professional, accredited Fire Safety Risk Assessor, rather than compiling the risk assessment yourself, as the new guidelines are more complex and they will have a thorough understanding of the changes and requirements for your property. A professional FRA will ensure you do not put yourself or any guests at risk. The new Government guidance applies to guest accommodation in smaller premises, sleeping up to 10 guests, with no more than four bedrooms on the first floor. For larger, more complex properties, the document Fire Safety Risk Assessment: Sleeping Accommodation still applies and is likely to be reviewed in 2024.

When it comes to finding a professional to conduct the Fire Risk Assessment at your property, the best place to start is with search engines, looking for a ‘fire safety risk assessor’. You should check that they are an accredited assessor. The following sites may be helpful.

Fire Sector Federation

The Institute of Fire Prevention Officers

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