Publication of New Clarified Approved Document B (Fire Safety) – 2019 Edition

10th October 2019

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) has published its new clarified Approved Document B.  The publication has been significantly restructured to reflect the wider suite of Approved Documents. The volumes have been renamed: Volume 1 ‘Dwellings’ and Volume 2 ‘Buildings other than dwellings’.

Clear guidance for building owners

An MHCLG spokesperson said: “This refreshed text provides clear guidance for building owners to ensure they meet our regulations so there is no misunderstanding of their responsibility for residents’ safety.”

In addition to the Approved Document, a series of frequently asked questions has also been published, following the ban on combustible materials in external walls.

Main changes in the 2019 edition 1

The guidance states that this volume of the approved document supports requirements B1 to B5 of Schedule 1 to the Building Regulations 2010 as well as regulations 6(3), 7(2) and 38.  The new clarified Approved Document applies to buildings and building work in England.

The main changes are:

Approved Document B has been redrafted to clarify its language and content in line with the Department’s style guide for approved documents. This edition of the approved document replaces the 2006 edition including all amendments. There are no changes from the previous edition to the technical guidance within Approved Document B.

As well as furthering the use of plain English, the document has been significantly restructured:

  • The design of blocks of flats has moved from volume 2 to volume 1.    
  • Guidance on the design of sprinkler systems has been consolidated to a new Appendix E.
  • European fire classifications are provided within the main body of the document with transposition to a national classification provided in Appendix B.
  • The guidance on external stairs has been consolidated.
  • Fire safety information (under regulation 38) has been moved from an appendix into a new section.
  • The guidance on insulating core panels has moved from an appendix into the Wall and ceiling linings section.
  • The guidance on fire dampers and ventilation systems has been consolidated.

Transitional Arrangements 1

The guidance states that the new approved documents take effect from 30th August 2019 except in respect of work already commenced before that date or in respect of work for which a building notice or initial notice has been given or full plans deposited before that date and provided work commences within two months of that date.

How the S2 Partnership can help

For further advice or guidance on fire regulation issues, contact our specialist fire safety team. The S2 Partnership has a dedicated team of fire safety experts, providing fire risk assessments, training, guidance, fire engineering and fire safety management systems to a range of organisations to meet legal obligations. The SPartnership works with clients to develop robust fire safety solutions, providing the right support to each individual organisation to protect lives, buildings and businesses. For further information, contact us.

1 Quoted from Building Regulations 2010 – Approved Document B Volume 2, 2019 edition