Recent Updates To Approved Document B

On the 1st June 2022, the Government has granted various updates and improvements to Approved Document B which are intended to strengthen existing building regulations and safety guidance whilst clarifying critical elements.

Key updates to ADB:

For new blocks of flats between 11 metres and 18 meters in height, new rules for external balconies and walls have been implemented.

This new guidance aims to place higher standards on the combustibility of the materials being used for external walls.

The impact of this is that blocks of flats between 11-18 metres meet the necessary cautionary standards. Moreover, designers and developers will now have the flexibility to use more environmentally friendly materials when designing walls.

The new advice balances the need to grant flexibility to mid-rise buildings with lower risk. This is so that they now no longer intervene with the use of environmentally friendly substances when used as a part of a strong system.

For new buildings over 11 metres in height, secure information boxes are now introduced.

It is now recommended that secure information boxes are introduced in new buildings thaft are over 11 metres in height. A secure information box allows critical information about the building and can be used by the fire service.

The evacuation alert system update is another critical update:

In new buildings over 18 metres in height, providing instructions on evacuation alert systems is now recommended.

Secondly, in accordance with the BS 8629, in new blocks of flats over 18 metres high, the implementation of an evacuation alert system is also recommended with Approved Document B (June 2022) stating that:

‘In blocks of flats with a top storey over 18m above ground level an evacuation alert system should be provided in accordance with BS 8629’.

This code of practice is strongly advised for new buildings containing flats and are equally relevant as best practice for existing buildings too.

Why is this? In incidents where widespread evacuation is necessary, having an evacuation alert system in place enables resources to focus on critical firefighting operations. Moreover, a swifter evacuation ensures the safety of residents.

What is BS 8629 and why is it important?

BS 89629 is the British Standards Institution code of practice for ‘the design, installation, commissioning, and maintenance of evacuation alert systems for use by fire and rescue services in buildings containing flats’.

BS 8629 was initially developed as part of a review of Scottish building standards in 2017.

The recommendations for the implementation of BS8629 had quickly come into place following the tragic Grenfell Tower incident in June 2017.

What is an Evacuation Alert System?

Evacuation Alert systems are operated by the fire and rescue service via a control panel that triggers evacuation alerts inside the apartment block for specific areas or floors. In compliance with BS 8629, an alarm sounder is required to be positioned in each flat in a block and must be fitted with an alarm sounder and a visual alarm device.

The benefits of an evacuation alert system, include:

  • Quickly alerting occupants to danger

Evacuation Alert Systems provides heightened audible and visual alerts in each flat signifying the need to evacuate.

  • Evacuation times being quicker

If you are looking to install an evacuation alert system, it is highly recommended to hire a specialist due to the following reasons:

  • Cost-effective
  • Benefit from a team of expert consultants with innovative and expert knowledge
  • Bespoke solutions are designed to meet the individual needs of your project.

Here at FDS Contracting, we can offer:

  • Evacuation Alert System installation services.
  • Competitive pricing against other leading specialists. It is worth noting that by using a specialist provider for both your Smoke Ventilation and Evacuation Alert System installation, it can be highly cost-effective.

Get in touch via the button below to get ahead of the Approved Document B updates and ensure you’re upcoming and existing projects remain compliant.

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