Last edited 07 Dec 2018

Approved Document B

Approved document b.jpg

Contents

[edit] Overview

The first set of national building standards was introduced in 1965. The 'building regulations' establish standards that have to be achieved in the construction of buildings. They set out:

The 'approved documents' provide guidance for satisfying the requirements of the building regulations in common building situations.

Part B of the building regulations in England that covers fire safety matters within and around buildings. The approved documents to Part B are in two volumes:

The most recent editions were published in January 2013 and came into effect in April 2013. They replaced Approved Document B (2006) which incorporated 2010 amendments. The main changes brought in by the 2013 edition included:

The contents of the Approved Documents includes:

[edit] Amendments to statutory guidance on assessments in lieu of tests

On 28 July 2017, following the Grenfell Tower fire, then-Communities Secretary Sajid Javid MP announced an independent review of the building regulations and fire safety. For more information, see Independent review of the building regulations and fire safety.

In April 2018, the Ministry of Housing published a consultation paper which is proposing to limit or stop the use of desktop studies for assessing the fire performance of external cladding systems. This is intended to strengthen fire testing for cladding systems on residential buildings.

Views are sought on whether calculations-based desktop studies, as opposed to actual physical tests, are appropriate for all construction products. If they are deemed to be appropriate, the proposed changes include:

  • Transparency of assessments.
  • Proper scrutiny of test results.
  • Ensuring studies can be carried out only by properly accredited bodies.

The revisions contained in the consultation paper 'Amendments to statutory guidance on assessments in lieu of test in Approved Document B (Fire Safety)', are a result of the recommendations made by the interim Hackitt report published in 2017.

The Ministry of Housing claims if the proposed changes are made to Approved Document B, it would cost industry £8m over the first 10 years.

(Ref. https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/approved-document-b-fire-safety-amendments-to-statutory-guidance-on-assessments-in-lieu-of-tests)

[edit] Updates

In July 2018, the government announced it was to launch a full-scale review of Approved Document B in the autumn of 2018 to clarify and reduce the complexity of fire safety guidance in the Building Regulations following the recommendations made by Dame Judith Hackitt.

The aim of this technical review will be to assess whether, in light of modern building practices, latest understanding of fire risks and scientific innovations, the underlying guidance should be updated.

Communities secretary James Brokenshire said; "Dame Judith’s report sets out the right framework to improve safety but I will not hesitate to go further than the recommendations where I deem it necessary. That is why I am going further than my original commitment to simply clarify the guidelines, by commencing an end-to-end technical review of the fire safety aspects of building regulations in the autumn.”

Changes to the approved document came into force on 21 December 2018.

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