Government revises Part B of the Building Regulations

Key changes to the building regulation on fire safety, including greater recognition of the role of sprinklers, have been announced by the government today.

The changes also include guidance on the need to consider building design for fire fighters in tall buildings.

Angela Smith, building regulations minister, said the revisions to Part B (fire safety) reflected recent experiences of actual fires.

She said: “The review that led to the changes looked at fire safety in all types of premises including dwellings, residential care homes, public buildings and warehouses. It also considered the important role sprinklers and other types of fire protection measures may have, particularly in buildings where the occupants are most at risk from fire.”

The changes, which come into force on 6 April 2007, will affect future building work such as the erection, extension or material alteration of a building, and how fire safety is designed into a building.

They also include amendments to the guidance on domestic loft conversions, the use of door-closing devices in dwellings and the provision of sprinklers in tall blocks of flats.

For non-domestic buildings, the key changes include the introduction of a maximum unsprinklered compartment size for single storey warehouses, new guidance on residential care homes (including on the use of sprinklers) and a new requirement to ensure occupiers are made aware of their building's fire protection measures.

The revisions follow the launch in October of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order – a one-stop-shop that brought together more than 100 pieces of legislation governing fire control.