IFSEC GLOBAL: New fire safety guidance includes tougher EWS standards, evac systems and premises information boxes

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New Government fire guidance covers information boxes, evac alert systems and tougher EWS standards

New Government fire guidance covers information boxes, evac alert systems and tougher EWS standards

The Government has announced new fire safety guidance for England, designed to ensure tall buildings are made safer and said to meet recommendations from Phase One of the Grenfell Tower Inquiry. We summarise the guidance, with tougher standards for external wall materials included in the announcement.
The new guidance covers several important developments, including:
  • All new residential buildings over 11m will now have to include a Secure Information Box to provide fire and rescue services (FRS) more information about a building
  • New residential developments over 18m will have to incorporate an Evacuation Alert System to support FRS inform residents of a change in evacuation strategy during an incident
  • Tougher standards for external wall materials on new medium-rise blocks of flats
    • a ban on combustible materials being used will now extend to new hotels, hostels and boarding houses
    • A ban on Metal Composite Material panels with unmodified polyethylene core, known as MCM PE, on all new buildings of any height
    • A restriction on the combustibility of materials used in and on the external walls of residential buildings between 11-18m

The changes are said to form part of a wider update to tighten building regulations and provide clearer fire safety rules for the design or construction residential developments.

Building and Fire Safety Minister Lord Greenhalgh said:

“We have introduced the biggest improvements to building safety in a generation, under the Building Safety Act.

“These changes will support our tough new regulatory regime – ensuring fire safety measures are incorporated into new high-rise homes and all new residential buildings meet the same safety standards.

“It does not end here and I urge the industry act quickly to update their practises in line with these new rules.”

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