Amendments to Approved Document B (Fire Safety) published

Picture of fire sprinkler - including in Amendment to Approved Document B

The Government has published Amendments to Approved Document B of the Building Regulations (Fire Safety). Although only applicable in England, Wales already have a requirement for sprinklers in all dwellings including flats.

Changes will apply to blocks of flats or mixed use buildings containing flats with a top floor more than 11 metres above ground level. It includes new build, material alteration, material change of use and extensions.

The documents as amended take effect on 26 November 2020 except in respect of:

- Work subject to an initial notice (IN), building notice (BN) or deposit of full plans (FP) commenced before that date;

- OR, work for which a IN, BN or FP was given before 26 November 2020 and the work commences before 29 January 2021.

The main points

  • The height threshold for the provision of sprinklers is reduced from 30m down to 11m.
  • BS9251 or BS EN 12845 continue to be recommended for sprinkler system installations in flats.
  • There will be no recommendation for sprinklers to be provided in common areas when these are fire sterile (lacking in combustible materials.)
  • New guidance is included for the provision of consistent wayfinding signage for use by the fire service in flats with a top floor more than 11m above ground level.
  • Signage should include floor level identification and information about flats accessed on that floor.
  • The new provisions will apply to extensions so that sprinkler protection and wayfinding signage will be necessary in any newly formed accommodation in buildings with a floor 11m or more above ground level.
  • An amendment to correct an omission in the redrafted document includes consideration of a notional boundary between buildings of purpose group 2 where both buildings are managed by the same organisation.

Further information

View England Approved Document B and May 2020 Amendments

View Wales Approved Document B 


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