Industry Updates: Approved Document B & NFCC Paper

We have just received the following information regarding Approved Document B. The new updated version can be accessed using the link with in the information.

 We have also included a link to the NFCC paper on modern methods of construction.

Transitional Arrangements

Initial notices submitted from today will need to comply with the new Regulations.

Initial notices submitted prior to the 1st December will need to commence within 6 months.

Strengthened building regulations

Following a review and consultation, the government has introduced regulations to strengthen the ban on combustible materials used in and on the external walls of buildings.
The ban on combustible materials in and on the external walls of buildings, introduced in 2018, will now apply to hotels, hostels and boarding houses – in addition to blocks of flats, hospitals, student accommodation and dormitories in boarding schools.
These changes will also ban Metal Composite Material panels with unmodified polyethylene core, known as MCM PE, on all new buildings at any height. This follows research carried out by the government and evidence heard at the Grenfell Tower Inquiry on the serious fire safety risks associated with this material.
Other changes to the regulations being put forward will: 

  • Include elements of solar shading devices within the scope of the ban.
  • Amend the list of materials exempted from the ban to include fibre optic cables, and water proofing and insulation materials in the external wall, below and up to 300mm from ground level.
  • Update the requirement of the ban to refer to the latest version of the British Standard classification for materials used on high-rise residential buildings.
  • Temporarily exempt cavity trays.
  • Amend the requirements for material change of use in buildings.

Updates to Approved Document B

The government has also published an update to Approved Document B to introduce new rules for external walls and balconies for new blocks of flats between 11 metres and 18 metres in height.
This new statutory guidance sets clearer, stronger standards which will set limits on the combustibility of materials used in the external walls of buildings.
This will mean that lower risk developments between 11-18m meet necessary safety standards, while allowing designers and developers flexibility to use environmentally friendly materials.
The new guidance balances the need to allow a degree of flexibility for lower risk medium-rise buildings so as not to preclude the use of environmentally friendly materials, such as structural timber, where they are used as part of a robust system.
These latest changes to Approved Document B also build on the changes already introduced to improve building safety, including the provision for sprinklers in all new blocks of flats over 11 metres in height introduced in 2020.

Grenfell Tower Inquiry recommendation implementation

The update also introduces provisions, in line with Grenfell Tower Inquiry Phase 1 recommendations, to: 

  • Introduce Secure Information Boxes for new buildings over 11 metres in height. A secure information box provides a secure facility to store information about a building for use by the fire service during an incident.
  • Provide guidance on evacuation alert systems in new buildings over 18 metres in height. Evacuation alert systems are an additional tool which can be used by fire and rescue services instead of, or alongside, traditional methods of alerting residents to a change in evacuation strategy.

Editorial changes have also been made throughout the guidance to make it clearer.

Approved Document B Volume 1: Dwellings

Approved Document B Volume 2: Buildings Other Than Dwellings

NFCC – Modern Methods of Construction Policy Position Statement

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