New safety guidance released by government fails to include escape provisions, warns RIBA

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has called for extra measures to be included in the latest guidance on building regulations, following claims that the guidance did not include any provisions for evacuation plans when the ‘stay put’ policy must be abandoned.

Reports state that for too long the government and the construction industry have relied on building design and construction to meet the regulatory requirements to resist the spread of fire; however, provisions to raise warning, escape, access fire facilities and alert fire services have been disregarded in technical guidance over the years.

Currently, the technical guidance in Approved Document B, the building regulations guidance in England that covers fire safety for buildings, assumes that measures to resist the spread of fire will be effective and the ‘stay put’ policy can be relied on, without any provisions included for when fire spreads beyond containment and occupants need to leave their residency.

RIBA has called on the government to review the guidance and add plans for occupants to safely evacuate the premises or to be rescued from their flats during a fire.

In addition to this, RIBA said that in new multiple occupancy residential buildings there should be at least two staircases, which is already required in offices and hotels and is being introduced in Scotland. For fire services to quickly find which alarm has been activated, it has also been advised that the government should ensure there are centrally placed fire alarms in all residential buildings. Furthermore, sprinklers should be fitted in all new and converted residential buildings as well as re-fitted in existing residential buildings above 18 metres.

There are many implications to the ever-changing fire safety landscape for residential buildings and Resi-Safe UK are at the forefront of these changes, advising our clients on ‘Best Practice’ to help ensure compliance and safer buildings.If you would like to discuss the above, or any other fire and safety issues that are affecting you right now then please do not hesitate to contact us today.