Government Advice Note (January 2020) – Advice on the Measures Building Owners Should Take to Ensure Their Buildings are Safe
A new advice note has been released by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government entitled ‘Building Safety Advice for Building Owners, Including Fire Doors’. This document offers advice on the measures building owners should take to ensure their buildings are safe.
Throughout the document, building owners are urged to “follow the steps in this advice as soon as possible to ensure the safety of residents and not await further advice or information to act”.
The following advice to building owners has been offered with regards to balconies:
7.1. Balconies made with combustible materials are a potential source of rapid fire spread on the external wall of residential buildings. Balconies including combustible materials may not meet an appropriate standard of safety and could pose a risk to the health and safety of residents and other building users.
7.3. The view of the Expert Panel is that the removal and replacement of any combustible material used in balcony construction is the clearest way to prevent external fire spread from balconies and therefore to meet the intention of building regulation requirements and this should occur as soon as practical.
7.7. Building owners should also ensure that any risks arising from balconies are considered as part of the risk assessment and information provided to residents.
7.8. Where combustible materials have been used and it is assessed that there is a notable risk of fire spread as a result, building owners should seek professional advice and take appropriate action to address that risk.
Unlike the 2018 Building (Amendment) Regulations, this document stresses “the need to assess and manage the risk of fire spread applies to buildings of any height”.
Importance has also been placed on vulnerable residents who need assistance to evacuate; “the Expert Panel’s view is that the vulnerability of occupants is a significant factor in assessing this risk and, in some instances, may be more significant than building height”. Read more about balcony solutions for vulnerable residents here.
Critically, the advice note states that “for the avoidance of doubt, the removal of unsafe material and action to remediate unsafe wall systems should be carried out as soon as possible”.
Click here to read the full government advice note.
For expert advice, or to discuss our A1 Fire Rated balcony solutions,
please call 01653 695 721 or email .