This Advice Note dated 20 January 2020 consolidates and supersedes the existing Advice Notes 1 to 22. The advice on the assessment of non-ACM external wall systems (previously Advice Note 14) has been updated and incorporated, and some of the advice within the previous published notes has been condensed to make it clearer. The Advice Note also clarifies how the 18m height of a building is measured as it was silent in various other Advice Notes issued.
Item 1.6 refer to the proposed new Fire Safety Bill and states:
‘The government has announced its intention to introduce a Fire Safety Bill which will clarify that building owners and managers of multi-occupied residential premises of any height must fully consider and mitigate the risks of any external wall systems and fire doors in discharging their duties under the Fire Safety Order. We strongly advise building owners to consider the risks of any external wall system and fire doors in their fire risk assessments, irrespective of the height of the building, ahead of the planned clarification.’
The Advice note states under 1.10 that external walls of residential buildings should not assist the spread of fire, irrespective of height.
‘Existing residential buildings which have external wall systems that contain combustible materials may not meet an appropriate standard of safety and could pose a significant risk to the health and safety of residents, other building users, people in the proximity of the building or firefighters. External walls of residential buildings should not assist the spread of fire, irrespective of height. It is important therefore to understand both the materials used in the external wall construction and whether the entire system has been designed, installed, and, maintained appropriately.
The Advice note states under 1.11 that 11 while the use of combustible within or attached to external walls of residential buildings below 18m is not currently expressly prohibited, it has been a legal requirement since the 1980s to consider the risk from fire spread. This is in accordance with the functional requirements of the Building Regulations.
‘1.11. While the use of combustible materials within or attached to external walls of residential buildings below 18m is not currently expressly prohibited, it has been a legal requirement since the 1980s to consider the risk from fire spread. This is in accordance with the functional requirements of the Building Regulations. It is also a requirement of the Fire Safety Order that any purpose-built block of flats – regardless of height – should have an up to date fire risk assessment and appropriate fire precautions in place’