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How do the Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022 affect lifts?

Lifts By Graham Barker, Partner, Vertical Transportation – 20 October 2022

Lombard St, London

Interior of lift, controls panel, angling towards reception and entrance of an office building


Graham in an open collar shirt and suit jacket against a dark wall

Graham Barker

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The Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022 will make it a legal requirement, from 23 January 2023, for responsible persons in charge of high-rise residential buildings to enhance the checking and monitoring of lifts designed for use by fire-fighters or for evacuation. A high-rise building is defined as a building of at least 18 metres in height or of seven storeys containing two or more domestic dwellings.

Who is the responsible person?

The responsible person is the person who is responsible for the safety of themselves and others who use a regulated premises. This is normally a building owner, or in residential properties, another person in control of the site. Most of the duties set out in the Fire Safety Order are imposed on the responsible person.

What does the responsible person need to do in relation to lifts?

1. From 23 January 2023, monthly checks must be undertaken, recorded and published to residents for:

  • any lifts in high-rise buildings that are designed to be used by fire-fighters and have controls which allow them to take control of the lifts
  • all evacuation lifts regardless of building height

2. Notify the local fire and rescue service when a lift for the use of evacuation is:

  • unavailable due to a fault or breakdown, and will be unavailable for use for more than 24 hours
  • returned to operation following being unavailable

3. Responsible persons should also consider whether the unavailability of a lift will require updates to be made to their building’s fire risk assessment.

10 top tips to help responsible persons meet their obligations under the Fire Safety Regulations for evacuation and fire-fighters lifts

  1. Identify the lifts which are intended for fire-fighters' use or evacuation
  2. Check what information you already have. Lifts installed since 1998 should have been provided with an operating and maintenance manual which should be consulted to determine the installed features and specific checking procedures
  3. Assess what facilities these lifts have. Over the years the requirement for lifts for fire-fighters' use have changed significantly. It’s important to understand what facilities your lift has in order to identify what needs to be checked each month. You can find more information here
  4. Determine the specific checks that need to be done for each applicable lift. Note that different lifts may need different checks depending upon what facilities they are provided with
  5. Develop appropriate instructions or checklists for the specific checks needed for each lift
  6. Undertake the checks each month, record them and make them available to residents, e.g., via a noticeboard
  7. The responsible person for a building cannot delegate or abdicate their legal responsibility, but it is likely that they will call on the resources of other people to assist them. Clear communication is key
  8. The monthly tests for lifts intended to be used by fire-fighters and evacuation lifts are not yet defined but are intended to be able to be completed by the responsible person, meaning that no specialist lift persons or skills are needed
  9. Standard BS8899-2016 contains recommendations for weekly, monthly and annual tests for fire-fighters lifts which are taken from the version of BS9999 which was in place at that time. BS9999 has subsequently been updated and whilst BS8899-2016 is still the current version, the information is somewhat outdated and the tests required under regulation 7 will be defined in a revision of BS8899 in due course
  10. If you are not sure, get help. At Cundall we are working with many clients assisting them with understanding their responsibilities under the Fire Safety (England) 2022 Regulations for their lifts, identifying lift features and developing instructions and checklists for the monthly checks

The Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022 apply to England only, but I suggest they should be considered as good practice in other countries where no other requirement exists. I understand, from a recent discussion in October 2022, that the fire and rescue service are currently finalising the system/method by which responsible persons are to notify them of unavailability or return to service of lifts for fire-firefighters' use and evacuation lifts.

Several useful fact sheets are available concerning the Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022, including a specific one about lifts. 23 January 2023 will soon be upon us and it is important that building owners and operators act now to be ready. For those with large residential property portfolios, assessing the individual facilities of each individual lift will take time and may require specialist assistance from a lift professional.