MHCLG Publishes Advice Note on Balconies on Residential Buildings
The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) has published an advice note aimed at residents and building owners of residential buildings with multiple dwellings (i.e. blocks of flats), on the risks arising from balconies on residential buildings in regard to external fire spread. The principles contained within the document could also apply to other building types.
Outlined within the advice note are recommendations for the construction of external walls and balconies, particularly in relation to the use of materials and their combustibility – regardless of the height of the building. The view of the expert panel – which is not, however, currently part of any legislative framework or guidance for existing buildings – is that the clearest way to prevent the risk of external fire spread is to remove and replace any combustible material with one that is non-combustible (classified as A1 or A2-s1, d0).
Where necessary, building owners should inform residents about any risks arising from the presence of combustible materials on balconies and clearly state that using balconies for smoking, barbecues or the storage of flammable property can increase that risk. Fire and rescue authorities advise that barbecues should not be used on balconies.
The guidance states that where there is any doubt over the materials used, building owners should seek professional guidance to understand the building composition and the potential risks it poses. Any risks arising from the construction of balconies should form part of the building’s fire risk assessment, and information should be passed on to residents.
In addition, the guidance recommends that any residents with concerns about the fire safety of the premises should contact their managing agent or landlord in the first instance and building owners are expected to respond promptly to these requests.
To read the complete advice note, please click here.
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