Recent Updates to Approved Document B

Added on June 22nd, 2022
Category Uncategorized

The government approved several adjustments and enhancements to Approved Document B on June 1, 2022, intending to strengthen existing building standards and safety recommendations while clarifying essential parts.

ADB Critical Updates

Installation of Evacuation Alert Systems:

It is currently suggested that instructions on evacuation alert systems be provided in new buildings that are over 18 metres in height.

Second, per BS 8629, the installation of an evacuation alarm system is also suggested in new blocks of flats over 18 metres high, as stated in Approved Document B (June 2022): ‘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 recommended for new buildings with flats, although it is also applicable to existing buildings as best practice.

What is the reason for this? Having an evacuation alert system in place allows resources to focus on essential firefighting operations when extensive evacuation is required. Furthermore, a faster evacuation ensured the residents’ safety.

Secure information boxes are now required for new structures exceeding 11 metres.

In new structures over 11 metres, secure information boxes are currently recommended to be installed. A secure information box allows the fire department to access important building information.

New requirements for external balconies and walls have been established for new blocks of flats between 11 and 18 metres.

The goal of this new guidance is to raise the standards for the combustibility of materials used for exterior walls.

As a result, buildings of flats between 11 and 18 metres meet the essential precautionary measures. Furthermore, designers and developers can use more environmentally friendly materials while creating walls.

The new guidance update strikes a balance between the requirement to give mid-rise buildings flexibility while reducing risk. As a result, they no longer interfere with the usage of ecologically favourable substances when they are part of a well-designed system.

What is the significance of BS 8629?

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

In 2017, BS8629 was created as part of a revision of Scottish building standards.

Following the catastrophic Grenfell Tower fire in June 2017, the suggestions for BS8629 compliance were promptly implemented.

How does an Evacuation Alert System work?

The fire and rescue agency operates evacuation alert systems through a control panel that sends out evacuation notifications for specific regions or floors within the apartment building. An alarm sounder must be installed in each flat in a block per BS 8629, and it must be equipped with both an alarm sounder and a visual alarm device. The benefits of an evacuation alert system include:

  • Notifying occupants of danger as soon as possible

In each flat, Evacuation Alert Systems deliver enhanced audio and visual alarms indicating the need to leave.

  • This will result in shorter evacuation times.

With Evacuation Alert Systems installed in each flat, all inhabitants will be informed of the hazard, regardless of whether they have visual or hearing impairments.

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