Last edited 14 May 2024

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Living Walls and Fire Safety. Best Practice Guide Dec 2022

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The Living Wall industry has launched a best practice guide for designers and specifiers to provide clarity on the latest National Building Regulations.

In response to the Government's introduction of a new framework to further strengthen and clarify building regulations and fire risk guidance as part of wider reforms to building safety, the Living Wall industry's two largest installers, Biotecture and ANS Global, have summarised the changes to the Government's Approved Document B and included industry recommendations on the specifications and materials to be used, including the type of plants.

National legislation now clearly determines the building types where external cladding can be used, which includes Living Wall installations. This means that residential dwellings above 11m high where people sleep are no longer compliant, but all other building types are.

Ways to minimise risk of fire, outlined in the guidance, include selecting plants with low calorific value and propensity for heat and enacting robust irrigation procedures, preventing plants from drying out.

The guide also explains the third-party Engineering Assessment reports and testing procedures to ensure compliance, such as fire certification test BS EN 13501-1, and effective maintenance procedures to follow.

The summary of Best Practice Guidance states that a Living Wall as external cladding should:

Richard Sabin, Managing Director, Biotecture said: “This industry Best Practice Guidance is designed to clarify and explain the latest regulatory framework for Living Wall installations and offer recommendations to allow designers and specifiers to condition with confidence. We recommend that the design and planning industry follow this guidance to minimise fire risk and ensure Living Walls remain compliant with national regulations, as we drive forward urban greening and maximise the benefits of green infrastructure in our cities and towns.”

Richard Silcock, Managing Director, ANS Global said: “Living Walls clean the air around us, drive biodiversity and make us happier. As an industry we hope this guidance will provide helpful direction for those who plan our cities and enable us to tap into the potential of urban spaces across the country, in a responsible and compliant way. Together we can plan for a greener, healthier future.”

Download the Living Wall Best Practice Guide in full

This article appears on the CIAT News and Blog site as "Best practice guidance launched by Living Wall industry" dated January 4, 2022.


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