Building safety: professional bodies flag staircase concerns to Gove

building safety staircases High rise residential building dreamstime_s_73643.
There are concerns over the government’s staircase proposals for new residential high-rise buildings (image: Dreamstime)

CIOB has joined other leading built environment professional bodies in calling on the government to review the rules for staircases in high-rise buildings.

The organisations want the height threshold where a second staircase is required in new residential buildings reduced to 18m. The current proposal is 30m.

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), CIOB and five other organisations signed the letter to Michael Gove, secretary of state for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.

The letter said: “We are calling on government to reduce the height threshold for more than one staircase to 18m – implementing what we believe to be best practice, improving safety for occupants, and harmonising standards with the wider regulatory environment. This would also align with rules in Scotland, where an additional staircase from 18m has been required for four years.”

The letter was signed by:

  • Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA)
  • Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS)
  • Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB)
  • National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC)
  • Housing Learning and Improvement Network (Housing LIN)
  • Disability Rights UK
  • Inclusion London
  • Claddag (Leaseholder Disability Action Group).

In January, the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities began a consultation on fire safety measures, including sprinklers in care homes, removal of national classes, and staircases in residential buildings as part of changes to Approved Document B. 

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  1. Not before time. Long time to wait for this life-saving measure to be enshrined in Building Regulations.
    Almost all of my working life I have been engaged in Building Regulations and Building Control Inspections and to this end safety concerns around a single staircase in high-rise buildings was a bad measure, and could never be justified.

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