Approved Document B
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:
- What qualifies as ‘building work’ and so falls under the control of the regulations.
- What types of buildings are exempt.
- The notification procedures that must be followed when starting, carrying out, and completing building work.
- Requirements for specific aspects of building design and construction.
- Approved Document B (fire safety) volume 1: dwellinghouses.
- Approved Document B (fire safety) volume 2: buildings other than dwellinghouses.
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 general guidance on materials and workmanship and the Construction Products Directive was revised and a reference to Approved Document 7 included.
- The standard for smoke alarms was updated to BS EN 14604 Smoke alarm devices.
The contents of the Approved Documents includes:
- Section B1: Means of warning and escape. This covers fire detection and fire alarm systems as well as means of escape. Volume 2 also includes means of escape from flats, design for horizontal escape in buildings other than flats, design for vertical escape, and general provisions.
- Section B2: Internal fire spread (linings). Covering the classification of wall and ceiling linings, and thermoplastic materials.
- Section B3: Internal fire spread (structure). Loadbearing elements of structure, compartmentation, concealed spaces (cavities), protection of openings and fire-stopping. Volume 2 also covers special provisions for car parks and shopping complexes.
- Section B4: External fire spread. Construction of external walls, space separation, and roof coverings.
- Section B5: Access and facilities for the fire and rescue service. Volume 2 also covers fire mains and hydrants, and the venting of heat and smoke from basements.
- Appendix A: Performance of materials, products and structures.
- Appendix B: Fire doors.
- Appendix C: Methods of measurement.
- Appendix D: Purpose groups.
- Appendix E: Definitions.
- (Volume 1) Appendix F: Standards and other publications referred to.
- (Volume 2) Appendix F: Fire behavior of insulating core panels used for internal structures.
- (Volume 2) Appendix G: Fire safety information.
- (Volume 2) Appendix H: Standards and other publications referred to.
NB On 28 July 2017, following the Grenfell Tower fire, Communities Secretary The Rt Hon Sajid Javid MP announced an independent review of the building regulations and fire safety. See: Independent review of the building regulations and fire safety for more information.
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