External Wall Fire Safety for Relevant Buildings: Introduction

The Building (Amendment) Regulations 2018 and associated amendment to Approved Document B came into force on 21 December 2018.

The amendment defines what constitutes an ‘external wall’ and restricts the use of combustible materials within these walls, when the walls form part of a ‘relevant building’ constructed in England. The amendment also details when certain materials will be exempt from the new requirements, and how the changes have implications for maintenance, upgrade or repair works to existing buildings.

The new restrictions, which are additional to the previously existing requirements, affect how relevant buildings are designed and which materials are used. Any organisation involved in the design, specification and procurement of materials for these buildings needs to recognise and adhere to these mandatory new requirements.


About the Relevant Building Elements Resource

This technical site enables you to cross check the relevant regulatory (Building Control) and warranty (LABC Warranty) positions against the Elements, Systems, Materials and Components, and Remediation / Change of Use arrangements in the external wall construction type you are using.

  • Elements refers to the key parts / assemblies of a façade. Comprised of a combination of systems, materials and components (for example, a balcony or winter garden).
  • Systems are key external wall build-ups or factory assembled units, such as rainscreen systems or winder screen.
  • Materials and Components are individual products where are combined to make up Systems and / or Elements, for example infill spandrel panels or cavity trays.
  • Remediation / Change of Use is relevant to existing buildings where works to the existing façade are proposed or the type of use / occupation of the building will be changed.

Please refer to the FAQ below for more guidance on using the resource. You will also find this guidance available once you access the resource.

While LABC Warranty has engaged with appropriate organisations to compile this information, the positions shown here are those of LABC Warranty and cannot be attributed to other organisations. When appropriate we have noted situations where other sectors of the industry may not be in full agreement with our position (noting that we believe our position to be substantiated and practical) and where it may be appropriate for you to seek specific guidance.

Access the Fire Safety for Relevant Buildings Resource

Check the relevant regulatory and warranty (LABC Warranty) positions against the elements, systems, materials and arrangements in the external wall construction type you are using:

Click here to access

Important: pre-existing and un-amended requirements of the Regulations remain relevant to external walls, and must continue to be applied. In particular Schedule 1, Requirement B4-(1), “The external walls of the building shall adequately resist the spread of fire over the walls and from one building to another, having regard to the height, use and position of the building”; noting that this requirement relates to all buildings of all heights.

Fire Safety Resource FAQs

Who is this for?

The resource is intended for use by architects, façade consultants, engineers, developers, and contractors.

Why subscribe to this resource?

It is expected that the government will introduce further amendments. When this occurs we will update this resource accordingly and subscribers will receive automatic notifications via email.

What do you mean by ‘external wall’ and ‘relevant building’?

External wall:

a) includes a reference to

i. anything located within any space forming part of the wall;

ii. any decoration or other finish applied to any external (but not internal) surface forming part of the wall;

iii. any windows and doors in the wall; and

iv. any part of a roof pitched at an angle of more than 70 degrees to the horizontal if that part of the roof adjoins a space within the building to which persons have access, but not access only for the purpose of carrying out repairs or maintenance; and

(b) “specified attachment” means*

i. a balcony attached to an external wall;

iii. a solar panel attached to an external wall.”.

* MHCLG Circular letter, 10 December 2019 has removed B)ii) from the list of specified attachments.

Relevant Building:

(a) a “relevant building” means a building with a storey (not including roof-top plant areas or any storey consisting exclusively of plant rooms) at least 18 metres above ground level and which—

  1. contains one or more dwellings;
  2. contains an institution; or
  3. contains a room for residential purposes (excluding any room in a hostel, hotel or boarding house); and

(b) “above ground level” in relation to a storey means above ground level when measured from the lowest ground level adjoining the outside of a building to the top of the floor surface of the storey.”

What else do I need to consider when using this resource?

This site has been produced by LABC Warranty to communicate the position we hold in respect to the amendments to the Regulations (the Building Amendment Regulations December 2018). LABC Warranty has taken all reasonable steps to ensure the accuracy of information within this site.

However, any person or organisation using this resource should ensure that they acquaint themselves with and understand the relevant regulations and guidance documents themselves. If you have any doubts you should seek further guidance from an appropriately qualified and experienced professional. LABC Warranty will not accept liability for any costs associated with failure to comply with the Amended Regulations for whatever reason.


Disclaimer: The information in this document is believed to be correct in light of information currently available and at the time of publication but is not guaranteed. Neither LABC Warranty nor its agents can accept responsibility in respect of the contents or any events arising from the use of the information contained within this site. The guidance provided does not replace the reader’s professional judgement and any construction project should comply with the relevant Building Regulations or applicable technical standards. For the most up to date LABC Warranty technical guidance please refer to your Risk Management Surveyor and the latest version of the LABC Warranty Technical Manual.