The Government have today (26th May 2020) published new guidance that will require Sprinklers and Way finding signage in blocks of flats over 11m in height.
Critically this will also apply to airspace development where stories are added to an existing block.
The new rules require that blocks of flats with a top storey more than 11m above ground level should be fitted with a sprinkler system throughout the building. Sprinklers should be provided within the individual flats, they do not need to be provided in the common areas such as stairs, corridors or landings when these areas are fire sterile.
Applicants and building control bodies are reminded of the need to consider these new provisions in relation to extensions as required by Regulation 4(1).
New accommodation, formed by building work, should meet the relevant requirements having considered the guidance in the approved document. This means ensuring that the standard of fire protection for the occupants of the new accommodation is as would be provided for a new building under the approved document.
In the majority of cases, therefore, sprinkler protection and wayfinding signage will be necessary in any newly formed accommodation that falls above the new 11m trigger height.
It may also be necessary to consider additional protection for the existing parts of the building where needed to ensure that the extension is compliant with the applicable requirements of Schedule 1.
Equally, it will be necessary to satisfy regulation 4(3) by ensuring that the level of fire protection in the building as a whole is made no worse.
The 2019 edition will continue to apply where a building notice or an initial notice has been given to, or full plans deposited with, a local authority before 26 November 2020 and either the building work to which it relates:
a. has started before that day; or
b. is started before 29 January 2021.
The changes focus on the following fire safety provisions in blocks of flats:
a. Sprinklers:A reduction in the trigger height from 30m to 11m.
b. Wayfinding signage for the fire service: A new recommendation for floor identification and flat indication signage within blocks of flats with storeys over 11m
The full guidance can be found here