resource hub | England building regulation fire safety changes - December 2022

England building regulation fire safety changes - December 2022

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Amendments to Approved Document B, Volumes 1 and 2 in England were published on 1st June 2022. These are in association with amendment regulations to the Building Regulations that apply from 1st December 2022, alongside a direction on cavity trays in certain buildings that applied from 1st June 2022.

 

View our short introductory video on the changes, commencement and transitional provisions:

Why are changes being made?

 

When the ‘ban on combustible materials’ was introduced in late 2018, the government committed to reviewing this on a regular basis. As a result, they consulted on various changes early in 2020 and have now considered the responses received. A number of alterations have been made to the regulations and guidance that implement some of these proposals.

 

They are also implementing some inquiry recommendations and taking the opportunity to further clarify text/diagrams within the documents.

 

What is changing?

 

There are a number of key changes, some relate to all buildings and others to particular classes or thresholds. Although not full coverage, the following themes are covered:

 

1. Ban on combustible materials

 

Section 10 of Approved Document B, Volume 1 and Section 12 of Volume 2 have been replaced; alongside amendments to the regulations:

 

  • Top storey height threshold of 18m retained, but hotels, boarding houses and hostels now included
  • Solar shading devices now a ‘specified attachment’ where they are over 4.5m from ground level (with conditions)
  • Further exemptions for waterproofing or insulation materials up to 300mm above ground level, fibre optic cables and the top horizontal floor layer of balconies achieving European Classification A1fl or A2fl-s1 with an imperforate layer under
  • Update the classification standard to BS EN 13501-1:2018
  • A dispensation, temporarily removing cavity trays from the application of the ban (Regulation 7(2) & 6(3)). This applied from 1st June 2022 and lasts for 18 months. It is available on the government website. Note that we may still require A2-s1, d0 products or better for cavity trays in certain situations and you should discuss this with your Premier Guarantee Project Manager

 

2. External walls of buildings generally

 

Further changes to Section 10 of Volume 1, Section 12 of Volume 2 and the regulations include:

 

  • Residential buildings more than 11m in height; external surface of wall, balconies (with exceptions) and any insulation product or filler material to achieve European classification A2-s1, d0 or better. Premier Guarantee have queried the extent and application of these changes on framed structures with the government. We will provide an update when we have further clarity
  • New regulation 7(1A) prevents the use of metal composite material in any external wall build-up or specified attachment of any building. Conditions on application are in new Regulation 2(6)(c)
  • Regulation 6(1)(c) for material change of use compliance with Requirement B4(1) (external walls) now applies for a building exceeding 11m high in place of the existing 15m

 

3. Access and facilities for the fire service

 

Section 15 of Approved Document B, Volume 1 has the following changes:

 

  • For blocks of flats with a storey more than 18m above ground level, evacuation alert system for use by the fire service will be needed in accordance with BS 8629.
  • For blocks of flats with a storey more than 11m above ground level, a secure information box should be provided sized to store necessary information in an easily identifiable location for firefighters, secured from unauthorized access and protected from the weather.

 

4. Other Approved Document changes

 

Numerous changes intended to aid clarity have also been made:

 

  • Remaining diagrams updated into the ‘new style’
  • Minor clarifications and adjusted cross-referencing throughout

 

We are currently reviewing the changes in greater detail and will be providing a webinar update with article in due course. Sign-up to receive our blog round-up and be notified when updates are available.

 

When do the changes start, and are there transitional provisions?

 

The amended Approved Documents and regulations come into force on 1st December 2022.

 

However it is normal for building regulation changes to be introduced through a transitional period, during which time and assuming qualifying criteria are met, the existing regulations remain in force.


Therefore, the December 2022 changes will not apply where an initial notice has been given to a local authority before 1st December 2022 and the building work to which it relates starts within six months of 1st December 2022 (before 1st June 2023).


The cavity tray dispensation will last for 18 months following its publication on 1st June 2022.

 

Commencement of work

 

The circular letter released by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUCH), confirms their opinion that commencement of work would usually be marked by the following:

 

  • Excavation for strip or trench foundations or for pad footings;
  • Digging out and preparation of ground for raft foundations;
  • Vibrofloatation (stone columns) piling, boring for piles or pile driving;
  • Drainage work specific to the building(s) concerned.

 

How do you define "work commenced" for warranty cover?

 

Where a Premier Guarantee warranty product is provided, these additional details should be satisfied.

 

What would ‘not likely’ be commencement?


DLUHC also confirm the works that are not likely to constitute commencement:

 

  • Removal of vegetation;
  • Demolition of any previous buildings on the site;
  • Removal of top soil;
  • Removal or treatment of contaminated soil;
  • Excavation of trial holes;
  • Dynamic compaction;
  • General site servicing works (e.g. roadways).

 

What should I do next?

 

For more information, follow the following links to the government website for detail on the changes:

 

 

We are currently reviewing the changes in greater detail and will be providing a webinar update and article in due course. Sign-up to receive our blog round-up and be notified when updates are available.

 

If you need any further information or clarification please use this enquiry form or you can discuss your plans with your Premier Guarantee Building Control Surveyor or your Account Manager.

 


Read more articles on the Resource Hub and sign up to receive our blog round-up.

 

Every care was taken to ensure the information in this article was correct at the time of publication (August 2022). 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 Premier Guarantee technical guidance please refer to your Risk Management Surveyor and the latest version of the Premier Guarantee Technical Manual.

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