The government has announced a package of changes to fire safety regulations on new high rise buildings, including a ban on the kind of cladding used at Grenfell Tower.

Revealed June 1, 2022, the new regulations affect practices and materials that will apply to tall buildings.

The changes will come into force on December 1, 2022, and according to the government meet the recommendations laid out in Phase One of the Grenfell Tower Enquiry.

Government to strengthen high rise safety

What’s changing?

The changes will introduce new responsibilities and materials regulations on fire safety for building high-rise buildings, including:

Banning of combustible materials

Perhaps the most noteworthy change, in light of the disaster at Grenfell Tower, is a ban on combustible materials from external walls of tall buildings. This includes metal composite materials, which were used on Grenfell Tower itself.

Introduction of Secure Information Boxes

The most recent changes to fire safety regulations call for the introduction of a Secure Information Box in all buildings over 11m tall. In the update materials, this box “provides a secure facility to store information about a building for use by the fire service during an incident.”

Offering more detail, the Code of Practice of the National Fire Chiefs Council describes the contents of the box including items like:

  • A description of the building’s current evacuation plan.
  • Information on residents with cognitive, sensory, or mobility difficulties.
  • A map of where the building is in relation to important reference points like roads, water supplies, etc.
  • Layouts that show facilities like lifts, water supplies, emergency water supplies, and other items and utilities that affect firefighting.
  • Any significant fire safety issues relevant to the building, like compartmentation, or other issues likely to affect the behavior of a fire.

The government’s published guidance points to the National Fire Chiefs Code of Practice for more details on these boxes, their contents, and their use.

Evacuation Alert Systems

The new regulations also call for the installation of an Evacuation Alert System for buildings over 18m tall. This system would aid fire and rescue services to communicate directly with residents to offer guidance on changes to their existing evacuation policy during an incident.

How does this affect you?

LABC Warranty’s technical team is aware of these changes to high-rise buildings, and is working on producing the appropriate technical guidance to help our clients meet them once they’re in force.

In due course, this information will be shared to clients working on or planning high-rise buildings, and will be incorporated into our technical guidance where necessary.

Need to talk?

If you are designing or planning a high-rise building and have concerns about these changes, you’re welcome to get in touch. Either contact your existing Account Manager, or if you’re not an existing policy holder you can use the contact details here.

LABC Warranty’s Major Projects Service gets involved from the design stage through to completion, helping you with regulatory problems.

Read more

If you want more information on the details of these changes, more details are available from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.

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Please Note: Every care was taken to ensure the information in this article was correct at the time of publication. Any written 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. However, 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.

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