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Last edited 14 Jun 2022
2022 changes to fire safety guidance and building regulations
On 1 June 2022, changes to fire safety guidance and the building regulations were introduced to provide clearer fire safety rules for the design and construction of residential developments. The changes are intended to satisfy recommendations from Phase One of the Grenfell Tower Inquiry and will strengthen the information available to fire and rescue services.
New residential developments over 18m tall will also have to incorporate an Evacuation Alert System to help fire and rescue services inform residents of a change in evacuation strategy during an incident.
The government also introduced tougher standards for external wall materials on new medium-rise blocks of flats. They previously announced a ban on the use of combustible materials in and on the external walls of new blocks of flats over 18m in England, as well as hospitals, student accommodation and dormitories in boarding schools. The regulatory updates now see this ban extended to new hotels, hostels and boarding houses of this height.
New statutory guidance will also be introduced to restrict the combustibility of materials used in and on the external walls of residential buildings, between 11-18m in height. This will mean that lower risk developments between 11-18m meet necessary safety standards – while allowing designers and developers the flexibility to use environmentally friendly materials.
Other updates to the regulations being put forward will:
- Include elements of solar shading devices within the scope of the ban.
- Amend the list of materials exempt from the ban to include fibre optic cables and insulation materials 300mm from ground level.
- Update the requirement of the ban to refer to the latest version of the British Standard classification for materials used on high-rise residential buildings.
- Temporarily exempt cavity trays.
- Amend the requirements for material change of use in buildings
Building and Fire Safety Minister Lord Greenhalgh said: “These changes will support our tough new regulatory regime – ensuring fire safety measures are incorporated into new high-rise homes and all new residential buildings meet the same safety standards.”
The National Fire Chief’s Council (NFCC) Protection and Business Safety Committee Chair, Gavin Tomlinson, said: “NFCC especially welcomes the introduction of emergency evacuation alert systems in new buildings over 18m. We also support the inclusion of Secure Information Boxes in buildings over 11m, which will give fire and rescue services access to important details about a building and its residents in the event of a fire. On the changes to building regulations, we are encouraged that unsafe MCM PE cladding panels are banned on all buildings and that the government has promised stronger safety standards for the use of combustible materials on external walls.”
- Approved Document L, volume 1: dwellings.
- Approved Document L, volume 2: buildings other than dwellings.
- Approved Document F, volume 1: dwellings.
- Approved Document F, volume 2: buildings other than dwellings.
- Approved Document O: Overheating
- Approved Document S, Infrastructure for the charging of electric vehicles.
The changes follow the Government’s response to the Future Homes Standard consultation and are part of the plan to move to net zero by 2050. These are intermediate changes, with a detailed technical consultation for the Future Buildings Standard due to begin in 2023, and further changes to the building regulations in 2025.
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