As announced in June there are a number of changes to Approved Document B with effect from 1 December 2022.
The changes include the following fire safety provisions:
1 Revision of the ban of combustible materials in and on the external walls of buildings:
There is now a complete ban on the use of the type of metal cladding was used on Grenfell Tower in all buildings of any height, not just tall buildings.
New statutory guidance for buildings between 11m and 18m which will further limit the options for wall constructions between these heights.
The main components of external solar shading products such as shutters, awnings, brise soleil, and similar products are now also covered by the ban (apart from at ground level)
A temporary 18-month relaxation of the ban to allow combustible cavity trays
2 New requirements for residential buildings with a storey 11m or more in height to have secure information boxes containing key fire safety plans.
The new regulations will require a suitably secure information box containing
- UK contact details of relevant persons
- Copies of the building’s floor plans – including key fire-fighting equipment
- A single page block plan – which identifies specified key fire-fighting equipment
NB this will also become a requirement is existing high rise buildings from 23 January 2023 by virtue of the Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022
3 New recommendation for evacuation alert systems in blocks of flats with storeys over 18m.
The requirement is brought in to offer a “plan B” for blocks with a stay put policy, and provide an additional alarm system that can be operated by the Fire Service when they attend an emergency to trigger evacuation alerts for specific areas or floors within a building. Full details can be found inside BS 8629.
4 Clarifications and corrections to a number of diagrams, text clarifications and corrections.
The new version of the Approved Document has revised many of the diagrams and wording to make them clearer to understand and remove some typo’s
What about existing applications?
The previous 2020 version will continue to apply where an application (eg initial notice or full plans application) has been deposited anytime before 1 December 2022. However, work must start no later than six months after – eg before 1 June 2023 so it is important that designers of existing projects allow for the extra cost of compliance – these could date back over 2 and a half years.