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Welcome new Fire Safety Measures for high-rise blocks

John Burke Associates join our regulating bodies in welcoming the Government Response: Sprinklers and Other Fire Safety Measures in New High-Rise Blocks of Flats. Which confirms a reduction in the height threshold at which Approved Document B recommends the installation of a residential sprinkler system in blocks of flats. Currently 30 metres, new guidance reduces this by nearly two thirds, to 11 metres.

Approved Document B

Collaborative Movement

In March 2019, three industry bodies collaborated to issue a joint statement calling on the government to change its policy on high-rise buildings. CIOB, RICS, and RIBA collectively called for the installation of sprinklers in new and converted buildings of 11m in height or above. Such buildings include residential buildings, hotels, hospitals, student accommodation, schools, and care home buildings.

A Necessary Change

Following a twelve-week Government consultation during which, the CIOB, RICS, and RIBA collectively advocated for change. Supplying evidence to the Government’s consultation on amendments to the statutory guidance on building safety regulations. The Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP published the Government’s response on 26th May 2020. The response conclusion was lowering the height threshold for sprinklers in new blocks of flats and introducing new guidance on wayfinding signage and evacuation alert systems.

Approved Document B (fire safety) volumes 1 and 2019 edition

The changes are that Approved Document B (fire safety) volumes 1 and 2019 edition are amended to include guidance that states:

  • Sprinkler systems in accordance with BS 9251 should be fitted throughout blocks of flats with a top storey more than 11m above ground level;
  • Wayfinding signage for the fire and rescue service should be provided in blocks of flats with a top storey more than 11m above ground level

Transition Period

As the respondents offered no clear view on an appropriate transition period, the view was taken the sooner the better. Therefore, the transition period is set at 6 months with the new guidance will be implemented in England 26th November 2020. It will apply to any building undertaking works unless such works have begun on-site or an initial notice/full plans are submitted by 26 November 2020 and work starts before 29th January 2021.

John Burke Associates

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