Last edited 03 Aug 2021

Planning gateway one

On 1 August 2021, a new requirement, known as planning gateway one, came into force to ensure that relevant high-rise developments consider fire safety at the earliest stages. The government describes this as part of biggest changes to building safety regulation in 40 years.

Developments involving high-rise residential buildings must now demonstrate they have been designed with fire safety in mind before planning permission is granted. This information will be submitted as part of the planning application in a fire statement.

Local planning authorities must seek specialist advice on relevant applications from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), as the statutory consultee on fire safety, before a decision is made on the application. In future, this role is likely to become part of the new Building Safety Regulator.

The changes follow a key recommendation made by Dame Judith Hackitt in her panel’s independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety.

Housing Minister Rt Hon Christopher Pincher MP said: “This is a key step in our progress towards a new, risk-based building safety regime that will ensure fire safety is prioritised at every stage in the development of high-rise buildings. I am pleased to appoint the Health and Safety Executive as the statutory consultee, which will be on-hand to provide their expertise to local planning authorities on these important fire safety elements. We are driving up the standards of safety for people’s homes and our new regulator – to be introduced under the Building Safety Bill – will provide this essential oversight, from a building’s initial design, to providing homes in the future.”

Peter Baker, Chief Inspector of Buildings, at Health and Safety Executive said: “The introduction of planning gateway one is an important milestone in the journey to radically reform building safety so that residents are safe, and feel safe, in their homes. It will ensure that fire safety is considered from the very beginning of a building’s life and that developments benefit from integrated thinking on fire safety. The Health and Safety Executive is now a statutory consultee for planning applications involving relevant high-rise residential buildings and will apply risk-based fire safety knowledge and expertise to evaluate planning applications. This will enable local planning authorities to make sound and informed decisions.”

Guidance on planning gateway one is available at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/fire-safety-and-high-rise-residential-buildings-from-1-august-2021

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