Advice Note 14 published by Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) states that the Advice Note is for the attention of anyone responsible for, or advising on, the fire safety of external wall systems of residential buildings 18m or above in height.
It addresses concerns about the fire safety implications of such systems that do not incorporate Aluminium Composite Material (which is covered in separate advice).
Advice Note 14 requires that building owners are required to check that external wall systems to residential buildings over 18 m are safe.
Irrespective of this building owners under the RRFSO are required to carry out a fire risk assessment. Prior to the issue of the Guidance Note 14 many fire risk assessments did take account of the external envelope but just dealt with the communal areas.
Advice Note 14 states:
• Building owners are responsible for the safety of their buildings.
• Building owners or their appointed competent professional advisors(s) should check that the external wall systems on their buildings are safe.
• For existing buildings this means only materials that are of limited combustibility (class A2 or higher) should have been used, unless the system has achieved BR135 classification via a BS 8414 test.
• The owner or their appointed competent professional advisors(s) should ensure that the system has been installed and maintained appropriately.
• It is a legal requirement for a responsible person as defined within the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 to have an up to date fire risk assessments and to take general fire precautions for buildings within the scope of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.
• Class 0 rating (for surface spread of flame) alone is not evidence a system is safe.
• If the system does not pass these simple requirements, then the owner should seek professional advice and consider remediation measures.
• The clearest way to ensure safety is to remove unsafe materials.
Guidance on professional advisors and where to find them is available in the information note 1 Appendix A.