Robert Jenrick the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government made the following statement in both Houses yesterday:
“I updated the House today in an Oral Statement on the Government’s progress on building safety and set out this administration’s approach. As set out in the Statement, I am consulting on changes to fire safety regulations for new-build blocks of flats. We will seek to commit to requiring sprinkler systems as standard in a wider range of new flats.
We will also consult on requiring better signs and evacuation alert systems to support effective firefighting. A link to the consultation document ‘Sprinklers and other fire safety measures in new high-rise blocks of flats’ is here https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/sprinklers-and-other-fire-safety-measures-in-new-high-rise-blocks-of-flats and I will deposit copies of this consultation in the Library of the House.”
Linked to the statement is the Approved Document B consultation, with a summary of the responses made to the call for evidence last December being published. The new ‘sprinkler and wayfinding’ consultation will run from 5 September 2019 to 28 November 2019.
In addition it was announced a new Protection Board is being set-up by the Home Office and National Fire Chiefs Council to provide further reassurance to residents of high-risk residential blocks with the Communities Secretary making £10 million a year of funding. The Board will provide expert, tailored building checks and inspections, if necessary, on all high-risk residential buildings in England by 2021.
The idea is the Board will operate until a new building safety regulator is established to oversee the new regulatory regime for buildings and legislation on a new building safety regime is introduced.
We will be co-ordinating a response to the consultation by the Institute shortly.