Categories: Breaking News, Safety

NFCC calls for multiple fire escapes on high-rise residential buildings

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The National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) has released a statement calling on the Government to make it a requirement for all new high rise residential buildings over 18 metres or seven storeys to have more than one staircase. In England, there is currently no maximum height for residential buildings with only one staircase.

NFCC is urging the Government to adopt the following changes for high rise residential buildings over 18 metres or seven storeys: All new buildings must have more than one protected staircase, all existing buildings must be retrofitted with sprinklers, and lifts in existing buildings should be installed or replaced for use in an evacuation.

Gavin Tomlinson, NFCC Protection and Business Safety Scrutiny Committee Chair said: “We are calling on the Government to ensure that all new high rise residential buildings over 18 metres, or seven storeys, have more than one fire escape staircase. In the event of a fire, a correctly designed second staircase removes the risk of a single point of failure, buying critical time for firefighting activities, and providing residents with multiple escape routes.”

NFCC’s recommendations could be reinforced by amending building regulations or the key Government guidance, Approved Document B.

Mark Hardingham, NFCC Chair added: “The Government should be commended on the improvements it has made, such as banning combustible cladding and requiring sprinklers at 11 metres. However, we urge the Government to now publish an updated workplan for the review of Approved Document B to give regulators, the public, and the wider fire safety industry confidence that the Government is still committed to reform.”

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