Views sought on Building Reg amends in NI

A consultation on proposed amendments to Part E (Fire safety) of the Building Regulations and guidance in Technical Booklet E (Fire safety) in Northern Ireland has been launched.

The amendments to Part E include:

  • A new Regulation 37A requiring the person carrying out the work to provide adequate fire safety information to the person with fire safety duties in any ‘relevant premises’ as defined under The Fire and Rescue Services (Northern Ireland) Order 2006. The requirement will also apply to buildings containing flats with a storey more than 11m above ground level.
  • A new Regulation 37B requiring the provision of suitable automatic fire suppression systems (e.g. sprinklers) in buildings containing flats or purpose-built student accommodation, both with a storey more than 11m above ground level. The requirement will also apply to all residential care premises including residential care homes, nursing homes, children’s homes and family resident centres, irrespective of storey height.

The amendments to Technical Booklet E include:

  • A new Section 7 ‘Fire safety information’ to give guidance to new regulation 37A.
  • A new Section 8 ‘Sprinklers’ to give guidance to new regulation 37B.
  • In Section 2 ‘Means of escape’:
  • Amended guidance to require smoke alarm coverage to all habitable rooms in all new build dwellings or dwellings created as a result of a material change of use;
  • New guidance to clarify the coverage of fire alarm expected after extension and/or alteration work to an existing dwelling;
  • New guidance to clarify the provisions needed to ensure adequate smoke ventilation from the common escape routes of buildings containing flats.

In Section 6 ‘Facilities and access for the Fire and Rescue Service’:

  1. Amended guidance to require firefighting shaft provision in Purpose Group 5 (Assembly and Recreation) buildings with a storey 900m2 or more in area at a height of 7.5m or more above fire and rescue service access level;
  2. Amended guidance on fire mains provision so that no point on a storey should be more than 60m from a fire main in a firefighting shaft but also in addition where sprinklers are not provided, no more than 45m from a fire main in a protected stair/shaft (not necessarily a firefighting shaft);
  3. Amended guidance to ensure a building with a storey over 50m above fire and rescue service vehicle access level should be provided with a wet fire main;
  4. Amended guidance so a pump appliance should be able to gain access to ensure a hose can reach to within 45m of all points within a dwelling as opposed to 45m to the dwelling entrance door (for buildings not fitted with a fire mains);
  5. New guidance to require emergency evacuation alert sounder systems for buildings containing flats with a storey more than 18m above ground level;
  6. New guidance to require way-finding signage in buildings containing flats with a storey more than 11m above ground level; and
  7. New guidance to require a secure information box in buildings containing flats with a storey more than 11m above ground level.

Fire safety changes to the local Building Regulations is available to respond to here.

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