Government Consultation Central Housing Group

Government Consultation To Improve Safety

The government consultation claims buildings will be made safer under new proposals including compulsory second staircases for new tower blocks.

It says this is the latest step in updating the statutory guidance which underpins building regulations for new buildings safety.

The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities will consult formally over the next 12 weeks on proposals including imposing rules on staircases, which would mean new tower blocks over 30 metres will need to have more than one staircase.

The department is also looking at mandating sprinklers in all new care homes, regardless of height, to improve the safety of vulnerable residents and help firefighters with evacuations.

Minister for Local Government and Building Safety Lee Rowley says: “There are undoubtedly lessons still to be learnt from the Grenfell Tower tragedy and the Department for Housing is committed to working with the sector and residents to explore what more needs to be done to make new homes across the country safe.

“This government consultation is the next step in the Department’s work to improve building regulations and make sure they are as clear and effective as possible.”

There have already been multiple changes to building specifications since Grenfell including:

– Implementing a ban of combustible materials for residential buildings, hospitals and student accommodation above 18m and provided new guidance for residential buildings between 11m-18m;

– Banning the use of Metal Composite Materials of the type used on Grenfell on all buildings;

– Undertaking a large programme of work to clarify the guidance;

– Lowering the threshold for the provision of sprinklers in new blocks of flats from 30m+ to 11m+;

– Making provisions for wayfinding signage for fire fighters in new blocks of flats more than 11m; and

– Making provisions for evacuation alert systems in new residential buildings over 18 metres in height.

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