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February 23, 2022

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Building Safety

Mayor of London launches new fire safety planning guidance proposal

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has launched a public consultation on draft guidance that puts fire safety at the centre of the planning process for new developments.

Construction-PlanningGatewayOne-21Sadiq Khan’s London Plan sets out guidance for development and building across London, with Khan stating that existing building regulations are ‘not fit for purpose’ and the progress of reform is too slow.

The London Plan Guidance (LPG) relating to fire safety sets out how applicants seeking planning permission should demonstrate compliance with London Plan Policies that relate to fire safety (known as D12 and D5 (B5)). The aim is to ensure that fire safety is considered at the earliest design stage of a development and addressed in planning application.

The fire safety LPG considers developments that include a new residential or commercial unit, a new lift, or alterations to external walls or communal areas that form part of an evacuation strategy.

Planning applications for non-major developments will need to provide fire safety information in a Planning Fire Safety Strategy.

The draft guidance states that the author of the PFSS should: “demonstrate they have suitable fire safety knowledge, understanding and qualifications, commensurate with size, scope and complexity of the proposed development.”

Major developments will require a Fire Statement, with householder developments needing to complete a Reasonable Exception Statement.

The draft LPG seeks to ensure:

  • Competent fire safety experts are involved at the earliest stage of the design process
  • Evacuation lifts and the space and measures required to operate as such are included in developments
  • Fire safety and evacuation measures are identified at the planning application stage and can be referred to in stage of the development process.

Speaking on the launch, Sadiq Khan said: “The current building safety situation is a scandal, and I am concerned that almost five years after the tragedy at Grenfell Tower, it appears that the Government are still not willing to properly address it.

“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 in 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.

“I am committed to ensuring all Londoners feel safe in their homes, and that in the event of an emergency, they can evacuate safely and with dignity.”

The draft Fire Safety London Plan Guidance will be up for consultation from 11th February 2022 until 20th June 2022.

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