Fire safety guidance strengthened for new high-rise homes in England


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New improvements to fire safety guidance and building regulations to ensure tall buildings are made safer in England have been introduced as part of a wider package of reforms, meeting recommendations from Phase One of the Grenfell Tower Inquiry and will strengthen the information available to fire and rescue services.

All new residential buildings over 11 metres will now have to include a Secure Information Box that will give fire and rescue services access to important details about a building in the event of a fire. New residential developments over 18 metres will also have to incorporate an Evacuation Alert System to help fire and rescue services inform residents of a change in evacuation strategy, during an incident.

It forms part of a wider update to tighten building regulations and provide clearer fire safety rules for the design or construction of 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.”

The National Fire Chief’s Council (NFCC) Protection and Business Safety Committee Chair, Gavin Tomlinson, said: “NFCC especially welcomes the introduction of emergency evacuation alert systems in new buildings over 18 metres. We also support the inclusion of Secure Information Boxes in buildings over 11 metres, which will give fire and rescue services access to important details about a building and its residents in the event of a fire.

On the changes to building regulations, we are encouraged that unsafe MCM PE cladding panels are banned on all buildings and that the government has promised stronger safety standards for the use of combustible materials on external walls.

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