Last edited 29 May 2024

Means of escape

[edit] General requirements

Requirement B1 of the building regulations requires that when there is a fire, there is both:

  • Satisfactory means of sounding an alarm.
  • Satisfactory means of escape for people.

Approved document B, Fire Safety, Volume 2, Buildings other than dwellinghouses, defines ‘means of escape’ as:

Structural means that provide one or more safe routes for people to go, during a fire, from any point in the building to a place of safety.’

The approved document defines an escape route as ‘The route along which people can escape from any point in a building to a final exit.’ where a final exit is ‘The end of an escape route from a building that gives direct access to a street, passageway, walkway or open space, and is sited to ensure that people rapidly disperse away from the building so that they are no longer in danger from fire and/or smoke.'

NOTE: Windows are not acceptable as final exits.

The approved document sets out ways that means of escape can be provided in commonly-occuring situations.

[edit] Building Safety Act

In the context of the UK Building Safety Act, a "means of escape" refers to the routes and provisions designed to enable occupants of a building to safely evacuate in the event of an emergency, such as a fire or other hazard. Means of escape are essential components of building design and construction, intended to provide clear and unobstructed pathways for occupants to exit the building quickly and safely.

Ensuring the provision and maintenance of adequate means of escape is a fundamental aspect of building safety and is a requirement under the Building Safety Act and associated regulations. Building owners, developers, designers, and managers have a legal duty to assess, implement, and maintain effective means of escape to protect the safety of building occupants in the event of an emergency.

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