Approved Document B

Approved Document B covers building regulation in England on fire safety matters within and around buildings. The government is conducting a long-term technical review of the guidance and has divided the review into distinct work streams, meaning some changes have been announced and others are expected in the future.  

The government is currently consulting on its latest proposed changes to Approved Document B. These include:

  • To require sprinklers in all new care homes, regardless of the height of the building.
  • To remove the national classification system for describing construction products’ reaction to fire and fire resistance, and require all relevant construction products to be classified to the British Standards version of the European Classification.
  • To require new residential buildings that are above 30m in height to be designed and built with two staircases.

The NHF will be responding to the consultation on behalf of the sector. Find out more about how you can submit your views.

In May 2020, the government published three key changes to Approved Document B, introducing new safety requirements for new residential blocks.

The changes, which came into effect in 2020, are that:

  • New blocks of flats with a top storey more than 11m above ground level should be fitted with a sprinkler system throughout the building. This represents a change from the previous threshold of 30m.
  • Wayfinding signage for the fire and rescue services should be provided in new blocks of flats with a top storey more than 11m above ground level. The amendments provide clarification on the type and placement of signage, which aims to deliver greater consistency among building owners.
  • It provides clarification on the definition of a boundary between two buildings, with a view to resisting fire spread from one building to another.

We will keep our members updated on further changes to Approved Document B as the government’s review continues, including opportunities to shape policy.

Who to speak to

Victoria Moffett, Head of Building and Fire Safety Programmes