Last reviewed 6 June 2022
As part of the Government’s response to the Grenfell Tower fire, it has over the last two years issued a number of consultations and calls for evidence with regard to its proposals to improve fire safety in certain buildings.
The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) has now published its responses to three of these: risk prioritisation in existing buildings; banning the use of combustible materials in and on the external walls of buildings; and sprinklers and other fire safety measures in new high-rise blocks of flats.
With regard to the call for evidence on risk prioritisation, full details of the 160 replies received can be found here.
The DLUHC notes that many respondents suggested areas of research that are already planned under the overall technical review of Approved Document B such as: compartmentation, fire resistance, places of special fire hazard, specialised housing and care homes, toxicity of building components, means of escape, resident behaviour, evacuation procedures, purpose groups, and modern FRS operational capacity.
It has confirmed that responses to the call for evidence will inform the continuing policy development work in this area.
Details of the more than 850 replies received following the consultation on the proposed ban on the use of combustible materials in and on the external walls of buildings can be found here.
The Government response document includes: building types covered; height threshold; list of exemptions; attachments such as blinds; shutters and awnings; and a proposal to specifically ban the use of metal composite panels in and on the external walls of all buildings.
Amendments will be implemented through changes to the Building Regulations and building regulatory guidance (Approved Document B). The changes will come into force on 1 December 2022; the direction relaxing the requirement related to cavity trays will take effect on 1 June 2022.
The third document published, relating to sprinklers and other fire safety measures in new high-rise blocks of flats, is available here.
It notes that 184 responses were received to the 2019 consultation.
Taking this feedback into account, the Government will amend Approved Document B to reduce the height threshold from 30m to residential blocks of flats with a top storey more than 11m above ground level.
“We have heard concerns and opinions on further expanding sprinkler provision to other building types, namely those housing vulnerable residents,” the document notes. “We will be considering further amendments to Approved Document B including the provisions within care homes.”