Fire Safety for high rise residential buildings

Fire Safety for high rise buildings

The government has published new guidance on Planning Gateway 1 which comes into force from 1 August 2021 and applies to high rise residential or educational buildings over 18 metres in height.

 

Why has there been a change?

This is one of the changes made in response to Dame Judith Hackitt’s Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety published in May 2018.

Planning Gateway 1 requires a fire statement to show that fire safety has been considered at the very earliest stage of the construction process.

The guidance explains:

“A fire statement will evidence that thinking on fire safety matters, as they relate to planning, has been incorporated into the planning application.”

If you’re interested, you can read the full guidance here.

 

Fire statements

Fire statements are new and are to be completed using a new form provided by the Ministry of Housing. The six-page form asks for information about;

  • the principles, concepts and approach relating to fire safety that have been applied to each building in the development
  • the site layout
  • emergency vehicle access and water supplies for firefighting purposes
  • what, if any, consultation has been undertaken on issues relating to the fire safety of the development; and what account has been taken of this
  • how any policies relating to fire safety in relevant local development documents have been taken into account

Having reviewed the new form, it is most likely that it will be completed by the project Architect on behalf of the developer because they would have the relevant plans and supporting information. It doesn’t appear overly onerous, and is likely to take 1-2 hours to complete the fire statement.

Click here to access the online form.

 

When do I need to complete a Fire Statement?

A couple of points worth noting are that this is not required for Outline planning applications, however it may be relevant to a ‘change of use’ application if the result would mean it becomes a ‘relevant building’ as defined by the Fire Safety Act 2021.

 

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