New fire safety planning regulations take effect

The new planning gateway one regulations, aimed at improving fire safety for high rise residents have come into effect this week.
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The new planning gateway one regulations, aimed at improving fire safety for high rise residents have come into effect this week.

The new regulations will require high-rise developments to consider fire safety at the earliest stages of planning. Planning permission will now only be granted following submission of an appropriate fire statement as part of planning applications.

Housing minister Christopher Pincher, MP, said: “This is a key step in our progress towards a new, risk-based building safety regime that will ensure fire safety is prioritised at every stage in the development of high-rise buildings. We are driving up the standards of safety for people’s homes and our new regulator – to be introduced under the Building Safety Bill – will provide this essential oversight, from a building’s initial design, to providing homes in the future.”

Local planning authorities will be required to seek specialist advice on relevant applications from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) before a decision is made on the application.

In future, this role is likely to become part of the new Building Safety Regulator – which, led by HSE, will oversee a new safety regime for high-rise residential developments.

Peter Baker, chief inspector of buildings at HSE commented: “The introduction of planning gateway one is an important milestone in the journey to radically reform building safety so that residents are safe, and feel safe, in their homes. It will ensure that fire safety is considered from the very beginning of a building’s life and that developments benefit from integrated thinking on fire safety.”

The changes to planning requirements follow a key recommendation made by Dame Judith Hackitt that fire safety in high-rise buildings should be considered at the earliest possible stage in the planning process. The recommendation was set out in her panel’s independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety.

It marks one of the first steps in the government’s major overhaul of building safety regulation. On 5 July 2021 the housing secretary introduced the Building Safety Bill that set a clear pathway for improved standards on constructing and maintaining residential buildings.

Further guidance on planning gateway one can be found on the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government website. 

Image courtesy of Pixabay.

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