Introduction of policy in London earlier this year saw host of schemes shelved

New buildings taller than 18m will require second staircases, the housing secretary has announced. 

The fire safety measure has long been called for by RIBA and has already been introduced in the capital by the Mayor of London for buildings over 30m, despite its absence from Judith Hackitt’s post-Grenfell building safety review. 


Source: Daniel Gayne

Michael Gove announcing the 18m threshold at an event in north London this morning

Michael Gove’s Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) has been consulting on its own second staircase mandate since the end of last year and the secretary of state announced the 18m threshold this morning at the launch of his long-term housing strategy. 

He said the announcement of the new threshold would “provide much desired clarity to builders” and that transitional arrangements would be put in place “to make sure that there is no disruption to housing supply”. 

DLUHC had mooted a 30m threshold when it first began consulting on the measure earlier this year but bodies such as the Chartered Institute of Housing backed a lower number, in line with recommendations made by the National Fire Chiefs Council. 

The introduction of a second staircase requirement in London by Sadiq Khan has led to a swathe of developers taking schemes back to the drawing board. 

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

The mayor of London brought in the measure with immediate effect in February, sending builders in the capital scrambling. 

Developments by Clarion, Hill and Landsec have been shelved in response to the policy and consultants Lambert Smith Hampton and Connells estimate that plans to build almost 125,000 homes might be scrapped in total.