• Damian Linley

Fire Safety (England) Regulations - Floor plans and building plan (regulation 6)

The Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022 will make it a legal requirement from 23rd January 2023 for responsible persons of high-rise residential buildings in England to draw up and share electronically up-to-date floor plans identifying the location of key fire-fighting equipment with their local fire and rescue services.

The Grenfell Tower Inquiry Phase 1 report found that on the night of the fire no plans of the internal layout of the building were available to the London Fire Brigade and the Inquiry felt that in other circumstances ‘lack of floor plans might easily have had far more serious consequences’. The Inquiry recommended that the owner and manager of every high-rise residential building (Recommendation 33.12(a)) be required by law to provide the fire and rescue service with up-to-date plans of every floor of the building identifying the location of key fire safety systems.

The floor plans and the additional single page building plan, which clearly indicates the location of key fire-fighting facilities such as dry risers, are to assist the local fire and rescue services in planning for and operational response to a fire.

The regulation will fulfil the inquiry’s recommendation on building plans and go beyond it with the additional single page building plan.


Preparation of Floor Plans

Floor plans need to be prepared like this:

A plan needs to be provided for each floor, but where multiple floors are identical then only one plan needs to be produced. The plans must show clearly the level which they represent, so if it covers more than one identical level then the range of levels needs to be shown (e.g., ‘Levels 1-6’).

The responsible person will also be required to provide their local fire and rescue services with an additional single page building plan which should include the location of all key fire-fighting equipment. The plans should be simple, to assist quick and critical decisions taken by operational fire-fighters during an incident.


Single page building plans

As the first example shows, a simple plan of the ground floor which also shows the environs of the building, detailing building access and egress, assembly points and rising fire mains gives a good single page overview of the building and its fire-fighting equipment.

An additional way to display this information is on a Premises Information Plate, a permanent fixture on the outside of the building close to the entrance or arrival point of the fire and rescue service. This gives the first responders to an incident the clear information required on arrival, prior to entering the building.


Level of detail required

The regulations require that the plans provided to the Fire and Rescue Service should be a reasonably accurate reflection of each floor of the building.

Scaled plans available electronically from professional plan drawing software are obviously ideal, but not essential as a starting point. Where these plans do not exist, obtaining any plans relating to the building (fire safety or not) would be a good start, which can then be checked on site for accuracy. The requirement is ‘reasonably accurate’, while this doesn’t mean to an exact scale, they should be proportionate and an accurate representation of the layout of the building showing access points, common circulation areas, stairs, lifts and accommodation division as a minimum.

Once any old plans have been checked, or buildings sketched with the above information, QDOS can use these to create the finished electronic files ready for printing the plans, manufacturing the vandal resistant premises information plates and sharing with the fire and rescue service.

All these plans should then be reviewed regularly and updated if the layout of the building or the equipment identified on them changes.


Preparation of electronic files

There are many options for software that can be used to prepare the finished building plans to satisfy this regulation. The main issue is the sharing of these electronic files, which can be achieved by exporting or saving the finished drawings as PDF, a common file type which can be opened on most devices.

However, adequate computer aided design software should be used. The electronic files should be editable and ‘PDF markup’ software or apps may be accurate for the first drawings, but any building changes required in the future would require a full updated floor plan to be sourced to import into one of these programs. Professional CAD software would be able to cope with changes quickly and efficiently by editing the original files.


Storage of hard copies

Hard copies of these plans should be kept in the secure information box on the premises. This is to provide fire-fighters with readily accessible information about the building. The hard copies can supplement the electronic copies of plans sent by responsible persons to the local fire and rescue services.

There is no requirement or intent for responsible persons to send a hard copy to their local fire and rescue service.

For help and support completing your plans contact QDOS on 03333 441516 or visit www.qdos.biz/premises-information for more information.

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