UK Government updates Approved Document B


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Following a review and consultation, the UK Government has introduced regulations to strengthen the ban on combustible materials used in and on the external walls of buildings.

The ban on combustible materials in and on the external walls of buildings, first introduced in 2018, will now apply to hotels, hostels and boarding houses in addition to blocks of flats, hospitals, student accommodation and dormitories in boarding schools.

The Government has also published an update to Approved Document B to introduce new rules for external walls and balconies for new blocks of flats between 11 metres and 18 metres in height.

This new statutory guidance sets clearer standards which will set limits on the combustibility of materials used in the external walls of buildings. This will mean that lower risk developments between 11m and 18m meet necessary safety standards, while allowing designers and developers flexibility to use environmentally friendly materials.

The Institute of Fire Safety Manager said this new guidance balances the need to allow a degree of flexibility for lower risk medium-rise buildings so as not to preclude the use of environmentally friendly materials, such as structural timber, where they are used as part of a robust system.

These latest changes to Approved Document B also build on the changes already introduced to improve building safety, including the provision for sprinklers in all new blocks of flats over 11 metres in height introduced in 2020.

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