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The government are now requiring Fire Safety Strategy Statements for high-rise developments after Grenfell

Thursday 03 June 2021

The government are now requiring Fire Safety Strategy Statements for high-rise developments after Grenfell.

Developers must submit a fire statement alongside a planning application for multi-occupied residential buildings under government proposals following the Grenfell Tower disaster.

The proposal is aimed at improving building safety in high-rise residential buildings after the tragedy which caused the loss of 72 people’s lives following a blaze at the 24-storey block in North Kensington, London in June 2017. 

Under the plan, the government will introduce an obligation to consider building safety at three new “gateways”. These cover planning, before works start on site and when the building is occupied.

The proposal focuses on multi-occupancy residential buildings of 18 metres or more, or seven or more storeys, whichever is reached first.

“Relevant buildings” under the gateway will mean those with two or more homes and educational accommodation, including boarding schools and university halls of residence. The proposal applies to new schemes, redevelopments as well as developments within the curtilage of an existing building.

The proposal will require developers to demonstrate that the planning application process incorporates “thinking on fire safety”. These involve a statement setting out fire safety considerations specific to the development to be included in the planning application.
4D Planning have experience producing fire strategy safety statements and plans and these are incorporated into our schemes when required.

The Health and Safety Executive and – when it is established – the Building Safety Regulator will become statutory consultees to advise planning authorities before permission can be granted.

The statements will require developers to outline the principles and approach taken to fire safety as well as detailed information on the site layout, including external wall systems and balconies, and the approach to evacuating residents.

A fire statement must also cover emergency vehicle access and water supplies for firefighting. Developers will be obliged to state what consultation has taken place on fire safety and how they responded to it. 4D Planning’s in-house specialists are experienced to assist with fire safety compliance policies and demonstration of their implementation in the design process and how they have been taken into account.

“Gateway one”, which focuses on the planning stage, fulfils a government pledge in its Building a Safer Future consultation paper. The two other “gateways” will form part of the building safety bill and accompanying legislation planned for later this year.

The changes to implement “gateway one” are due to come into effect from 1 August, subject to parliamentary scrutiny.

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