Coming into force on 23 January 2023, Regulation 4 of the Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022 required responsible persons of high rise residential buildings to install secure property information boxes in or on their buildings, and to check it at least annually to ensure that the content remains up to date.
Premises information boxes serve to make building and apparatus information readily available to the fire and rescue service in the event of attendance to the building. The box must contain the contact details for the responsible person, and Regulation 6 specifies further what the box must contain:  Floor plans for each level within the building  A single page block plan identifying the building and environ, and the location of the firefighting features installed within.
The legislation implements recommendation 6 of the Grenfell Tower Inquiry: Phase I Report which was published in October 2019, and following which the Fire Industry Association (FIA) and National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) published the Code of Practice for the Provision of Premises Information Boxes in Residential Buildings in December 2020. So though the legislation itself is new, building owners and managing agents will have been aware that this change was incoming for over 3 years.
The guidance actually goes further than the legislation, suggesting that the principles within are also relevant to smaller blocks with addition complexity, to mid rise accommodation 11-18m in height designed to accommodate a stay put policy, and also to new builds taller than 11m.
Location of Premises Information Boxes
Premises Information boxes need to be installed where firefighters can readily access them in the event of an emergency, and in close proximity to any control equipment that may need to be operated. So in determining the location of placement, consideration should be given to the point of access for the fire and rescue service, and of any firefighting controls.
The guidance suggests that a premises information box is required per block, however notes that for additional boxes may be required at larger more complex blocks with multiple access points. It similarly identifies that for straightforward estates with multiple mid and low rise blocks, it my be possible to install a smaller number of boxes strategically placed at the access points for the fire and rescue service.
Finally, for staffed blocks, it is possible to position the box in the concierge’s room - supported by way-finding signage for the fire and rescue service.
Security of Premises Information Boxes
The premises information boxes should be secure, with access restricted to firefighters by a copy protected key, and provided to the Fire and Rescue Service. This helps to ensure both that firefighters can access the box in the event of an emergency, and that the information remains within and has not been defaced.
The position of the Premises Information Box should be demarked with a “PIB for Fire and Rescue Service Use Only” firefighting equipment sign conforming to BS 5499-10.
Emergency Response Pack
In addition to the building and orientation plans required in the legislation the code of practice suggests that the premises information box should be provided with details of specific fire safety issues in the building, a summary of the building evacuation strategy, and details of residents with mobility, cognitive or sensory impairments.