Noting the documents’ complex and inconsistent language the FSF is, together with the Construction Industry Council (CIC), calling for a clarification of the guidance in this area.
The Building Regulations and its guidance in Approved Document B have not been subject to an in-depth review since 2006. By contrast, guidance documents Part L (conservation of fuel and power) and Part Q (security) have been reviewed every two years.
More than 88% of FSF members and 42% of CIC members agree that Approved Document B does not reflect today’s construction methods, design and usage. And 69% of FSF members believe research underpinning guidance in Approved Document B is out of date.
More than half of members of the Construction Industry Council, whose views were sought in a separate survey, admitted they found the guidance in Approved Document B difficult to use.
And every single FSF member agreed on the need to address inconsistencies in building definitions.
The coroner who dealt with the Lakanal House fire in 2013 has also previously called for a review of the guidance in Approved Document B. This recommendation was based on Rule 43 of the Coroners’ Rules, insofar as evidence points to a risk of further deaths in the future unless changes are made.
The FSF has signaled a need for improvements in the assessment of construction products and methods, better use of relevant research and for accreditation to be mandatory.
The inclusion of fire safety management in Approved Document B would prevent £1bn worth of fire-related damage over 25 years, research from the Association of British Insurers (ABI) suggested in 2005.