As of the 23rd of January 2023, it will be a legal requirement for existing high-rise residential buildings, over 18 meters to have a secure information box installed on the premises.
The new regulation will require, by law, a responsible person to install an approved secure information box inside or outside the high-rise building. The following information will also be required to be in the box:
Your local fire and rescue service should be granted access and the boxes. They should be maintained, and their contents kept up to date in line with the duties imposed by the regulations and the Fire Safety Order.
During a fire, secure information boxes are easily identifiable repositories for documents by the fire and rescue service.
The Grenfell Tower Inquiry Phase 1 report highlighted that the lack of on-site information available to the London Fire Brigade could have made their response even harder if the layout of the building had been more complex. The Inquiry meant that now all owners and managing agents of all high-rise residential buildings are required by law to ensure that the building contains a secure information box.
The regulations state that the box needs to be fit for the purpose that is intended and should be reasonably secure from vandalism and unauthorised access. The information held in the boxes should only be documents that are of use and interest to the fire and rescue service. Access should be provided to the fire and rescue service!
Chapters 2-4 of “The Code of Practice for the Provision of Premises Information Boxes in Residential Buildings” created jointly by the FIA and the NFCC sets out good practices on secure locations where you should install information boxes:
The regulations do not require a responsible person to include in the box any personal or sensitive information about residents.
Under the Fire Safety Order responsible persons already have a duty to maintain in an efficient state and in efficient working order and in good repair any facilities, equipment or devices used by fire-fighters.
As a minimum, the regulations require a responsible person to inspect the secure information box annually and ensure that its contents are up to date.