15 Dec, 2020

The UK government has released a new document detailing Amendments to the Approved Documents. Specifically, Approved Document B: Fire Safety, concerning the use of sprinklers and wayfinding signage.

The direct impact on clients regarding changes to the Fire Regulations includes a number of elements. The first change is to Section 7: Compartmentation/ sprinklers - flats. Any flats greater than 11m storey height, guidance now requires sprinklers throughout the building. Corridors and common areas in the same building do not need to contain sprinklers providing they are fire sterile. This is set out in Paragraph 7.4 in Approved Document B.

“This is a very positive change in the updated Approved Document B as it delivers increased life safety, however it will have an impact on project costs for developers with the provision of extra sprinklers.” Karl Guest, Stroma Building Control Technical Manager.

The second most notable change to the Fire Regulations is the provision of ‘wayfinding signage for the Fire Service’ in buildings. This change is set out in paragraph 15.13 and states that, “To assist the fire service to identify each floor in a block of flats with a top storey more than 11m above ground level (see Diagram D6), floor identification signs and flat indicator signs should be provided.”

The changes to signage provision come as a direct impact of the Grenfell tragedy. Clearer and more accessible signage will allow the fire service to navigate smoke filled corridors and buildings more easily in the event of a fire.

The amendment went live as of November 26th and applies to all projects where an Initial Notice is served to the Local Authority after this date. Where an initial notice was submitted prior to this date the amendment will not apply where a meaningful start on site has occurred before January 29th.

Do you need support with Fire Safety compliance on your next project? Contact Stroma Building Control today

You can view the full list of changes to Approved Document B here.