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New High-rise Regulations Mean More Engagement for Fire Engineers

By Kirsty Cruickshank in Industry News

Over the next few months, the design and construction process for high-rise residential buildings is going to change dramatically. The proposal sees the forming of a new regulatory body (the NGB) from; Building Control, the fire service, insurers and others. They will have the task of reviewing all high-rise residential building designs in three specific gateways, and then as safety case reviews once complete as noted below:


  • Gateway 1: End of planning
  • Gateway 2: End of detailed design
  • Gateway 3: End of construction and before handover
  • Safety case reviews: ongoing during occupation


If you don’t get approval at any of these gateways, you will be unable to move onto the next design stage.


One of the biggest changes from the current format will be the emphasis on getting the fire strategy in place during the design stage, which has never been done before. The new proposal also requires for the fire strategy to be significantly more detailed, so the fire engineer will have to input during the early RIBA stages.


Once Gateway 1 is approved, then you can move onto the detailed design phase, with technical specifications being provided for the tender process. Once this design stage is complete and before construction can start on site, it will have to be approved by the NGB.


Once approved and construction begins, there will be a requirement to have a formal change process in place to document any alterations from the approved design at Gateway 2. All of the changes, plus the justifications will need to be presented to and approved by the NGB before handover can occur. This means that it would be beneficial to have a fire engineer present during construction to keep track of the activities on site and to ensure that the fire strategy design is being carried out correctly


Overall, the main changes proposed to the regulatory approval process will be when and how long the fire engineers are part of the design of high-rise residential buildings, but it will still require the effort of all industries to guarantee that it works.