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Last edited 23 Oct 2023
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.
In the UK as of October 2023 it is a legal requirement for the principal accountable person for a building to register high-rise residential buildings that are at least 7 floors high, or 18 metres tall or higher, with two or more residential units by 1 October 2023. The Building Safety Regulator (BSR), an independent body established by the Building Safety Act, 2022, for the purposes of the system of registration defines high-rise residential building as a structure that has:
Exceptions to the requirement, although these may still be referred to as high rise building are buildings that are entirely used as a hospital, care home, secure residential institution, hotel, military premises or a prison.
- 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.
- Buildings of a great height.
- Buildings of a very great height.
- Tall buildings.
- Multi-storey buildings.
- Single-storey buildings
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.’
PAS 9980:2022, Fire risk appraisal of external wall construction and cladding of existing blocks of flats – Code of practice, published by BSI Standards Limited in 2022, defines a highrise building building with any storey with a floor located at not less than 18 m above ground level, or at least seven storeys (i.e. more than a ground plus five upper storeys), whichever is the lower NOTE In this context, the height of the top storey is measured from the upper floor surface of the top floor (excluding rooftop plant areas and any uppermost storeys consisting exclusively of plant rooms) to ground level on the lowest side of the building.’
- 7 Engineering Wonders of the World.
- BS 8579:2020 Guide to the design of balconies and terraces.
- Building height.
- Buildings of a great height IGH.
- CIOB responds to Newsnight report - Trapped: the UK's building safety crisis.
- Citigroup Center.
- EWS1 forms not required for buildings without cladding.
- External Fire Review Form EWS1.
- Fire risk in high-rise and super high-rise buildings DG 533.
- Higher risk residential buildings.
- Low-rise building.
- Medium-rise building.
- Mid-rise urban living.
- Multi-storey structure.
- Secondary ventilation stacks in tall buildings.
- Specify with caution to new BS 8579:2020.
- Tall building.
- Tallest buildings in the world.
- The Mile.
- Top 10 skyscrapers located in the UAE.
- Types of building.
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