Fire safety in tall buildings

Tall or high-rise buildings and tower blocks are residential buildings over 18 meters in height.

High-rise residential buildings are designed to resist fire and stop the spread of smoke. Residents of high-rise buildings are at no more risk of a fire starting, however, should a fire occur in a flat, the vast majority of fires are contained and don't spread beyond the flat itself. This is due to the way the flat has been designed. Building owners are ultimately responsible for ensuring the safety of their buildings and should ensure that they comply with the relevant fire safety regulations.

The responsibility for enforcing all relevant fire safety regulations relating to high-rise residential buildings in the private sector is shared between the council and Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service (MFRS). The council is responsible for enforcing regulations inside flats and the MFRS is responsible for enforcing regulations in the common parts of the building, including the access corridors and entrance halls, etc. MFRS seek to ensure that the building owner has undertaken an adequate ‘fire risk assessment’ which has the necessary risk reduction actions taken, for example a fire alarm or provision and maintenance of fire doors. Both the council and MFRS work in partnership with each other to ensure that high-rise buildings are compliant with the latest regulations. 

Following the Grenfell Tower fire tragedy in 2017, officers from Wirral Council, in conjunction with representatives of MFRS visited and inspected all privately owned residential high-rise buildings in the borough over 18m high. These inspections included the examination of any external wall cladding that was present, to see if it consisted of the same combustible material that was used at Grenfell Tower. These inspections established that none of the high-rise buildings on Wirral had such wall cladding. Social Housing high-rise property owners undertook a similar exercise in conjunction with MFRS. The ongoing inquiry into the Grenfell Tower fire will result in changes to improve existing regulations over time.

If you have any concerns

If you have concerns about the fire safety arrangements in your building, you should initially contact the building owner or managing agent and they should be able to help with your concerns.

If you wish to report a concern that you have already raised with the building owner or managing agent, you can email the council at Alternatively, Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service can be contacted directly on 0800 731 5958 or email