Last edited 23 Jun 2017

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.

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:

  • 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.

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