A public consultation has been launched that will run until June this year to look at improving fire safety standards in the design of all new buildings

Mayor Of London Sadiq Khan has launched a public consultation to introduce and enforce higher fire safety standards at the earliest stages of a building’s design.  These amendments are expected to impact the work of building engineers and HVAC specialists.

Feedback on the draft Fire Safety London Plan Guidance is being sought until 20 June this year to consider how to ensure wide ranging fire safety measures are included in the design of new buildings.

This will include consideration of passive protections such as compartmentalisation and active systems such as ventilation and sprinklers that can play a role in managing the spread of fires.

Building developers will be required to demonstrate compliance with these London-specific fire safety requirements that will also set out a need to allow for ensuring ‘safe and dignified’ evacuations in the case of fires.

The mayor’s office said in a statement that the new requirements will be implemented in addition of the UK Government’s own revision to fire safety that it said applied to a “limited number of buildings at the planning application stage”.

Competent fire safety experts will be required to be involved in building projects at the earliest stage of the design process, according to the draft guidance.

The final guidance will form part of a wider strategy to transform homes and buildings across the capital.  As such, providers looking to support the mayor’s Affordable Homes Programme must ensure they will also meet high fire safety standards.

Mr Khan argued that the UK Government had still not properly addressed fire safety in buildings at a national level almost five years after the Grenfell Tower fire in London that led to 72 people losing their lives as a direct result of the blaze.

He said, “That’s why I’ve been using all the tools at my disposal to raise the standard of fire safety measures in London, through requirements for developers in my London Plan and lobbying developers and building owners to share vital fire safety information with residents.”

“This draft guidance goes even further, and will ensure fire safety is embedded in the earliest stage of the design process. Ministers must do their part and urgently review and improve Building Regulations, including regulations relating to single escape staircases in very tall buildings.”

Greg Ashman, deputy assistant commissioner for fire safety with the London Fire Brigade, said the organisation would be among those responding to the fire safety consultation.

He said, “It is imperative developers are considering fire safety at the earliest stage of the building design process and we agree that the safety of all members of the public as well as our firefighters should be considered at this stage.”

“We still need to see a culture change when it comes to fire safety in all buildings and we believe this guidance will influence the overall safety of London’s buildings in the future.”

In January, the mayor set out aims to introduce stricter environmental ambitions for London that will include a focus on insulating homes across the capital and also supporting the increased installation of heat pumps to curb carbon emissions linked to buildings.


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