Building Safety Regulator says no ‘definitive timescale’ for publication of regulations as firms warn of schemes being stalled further

Housebuilders have hit out at the “vacuum” in information about the government’s second staircase policy as long-awaited technical guidance shows no sign of materialising.

The government has yet to publish guidance on the technical detail, design or specification of second staircases, which will be required in blocks over 18m in height.

The guidance and updated regulations were widely expected to be published before Christmas but have yet to appear. A source close to DLUHC said the regulations could take several more weeks to be published.

second staircases

Source: Shutterstock

Confusion around the second staircase rules continue to stall jobs, builders have said

The Home Builders Federation warned that the lack of detail is leading to “significant delays” to the delivery of schemes, especially in London.

Building’s sister title Housing Today understands Department of Levelling Up Housing and Communities (DLUHC) officials are still working on the policy and technical details in collaboration with the Building Safety Regulator (BSR)

>> See also Landsec the latest to be caught out by London’s new second staircase rule

>> See also What the second staircase rule would mean for high-rise blocks

An HBF spokesperson said: “In the absence of any clear design standards from the government, clients are inevitably insisting on specifications well in excess of what is required for domestic residential schemes.

“The vacuum created is causing huge uncertainty and frustration, increasing costs and amidst a housing crisis, thwarting the delivery of apartment schemes.”

He added that the government has merely made “vague high-level announcements” without providing certainty around the policy. It is understood there is uncertainty around lift provision required.

A spokesperson for the BSR said there is no “definitive timescale” for publication and said it will be up to DLUHC to confirm the specific timeline.

DLUHC declined to comment.

In October, housing secretary Michael Gove announced a 30-month grace period for complying with the policy from the moment the government confirms the changes to Approved Document B in building regulations.