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Last edited 24 Nov 2020
A high-rise building is defined variously as a building in which:
- The number of storeys means occupants need to use a lift to reach their destination
- The height is beyond the reach of available fire-fighting equipment.
- The height can have a serious impact on evacuation.
Typically this is considered to include buildings of more than 7-10 storeys or 23-30 m, although the Home Quality Mark defines high rise as a building that is 18 meters or over (the height historically linked with the reach of fire and rescue service equipment) and this height has also been adopted by guidance following the Hackett Review. However, in January 2020, following a fire in a block of student accommodation (which was just under 18m) in Bolton in 2019, the government launched a consultation including proposals to lower the 18m height threshold for 'high-rise' to 11m.
- Mid-rise buildings of five to ten storeys, equipped with lifts.
- Skyscraper of 40 storeys or more.
- Supertall buildings exceeding 300 m.
- Megatall buildings exceeding 600 m.
- Groundscrapers that extend horizontally over a large distance while only being of a low to medium height.
- Super-slender buildings which are pencil-thin and of 50-90+ storeys.
NB Building a Safer Future, Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety: Final Report (the Hackitt review) published in 2018 following the Grenfell Tower Fire defined higher risk residential buildings (HRRB) as: ‘new and existing high-rise residential properties which are 10 storeys high or more… For the avoidance of doubt, this 10-storey threshold would apply to mixed-use buildings of this height if part of it was residential.’
NB The Scottish Building Standards, Part I. Technical Handbook – Domestic, Appendix A Defined Terms, defines a high rise domestic building as: ‘…a domestic building with any storey at a height of more than 18 metres above the ground.’
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