Under the Government’s Building Safety Programme, MHCLG have issued a consolidating note bringing together all previously published Advice Notes No. 1 – 22 issued by The Expert Panel. This note is directed at building owners of multi-storey, multi-occupied residential buildings, but is likely to resonate across the wider market.

Much of the focus is on the external structure (including Advice Note 14 – assessment of non-ACM external wall systems, which has implications on SFS systems and has now been superseded by this revised advice). This note also covers smoke control and carrying out of fire risk assessments for residential buildings below 18m.  Another important element to draw out for members of the FIS is that the Guidance has an annex especially dedicated to fire doors that consolidates a range of best practice advice and looks at what to do when confronted with a nominal fire door in an existing building.

FIS Technical Director, Joe Cilia added “Since Grenfell there has been somewhat of piecemeal approach to guidance and advice and so pulling together in one place is helpful and will help.  Whilst this is a welcome body of work, there remains confusion, that is leading at times to conflict, and delays to projects and even examples where completed work is not being signed off. Our advisory service continues to be on hand to help members and where we can feedback these pinch points and areas of clarity back to MHCLG through our involvement with the Working Groups.

At FIS we recognise absolutely that this is the number one issue in construction and continue to support the dedicated Working Groups looking at competence in the supply chain.  We are also focussed on developing specialist best practice guidance wherever possible (including our soon to be published Service Penetrations Guide that we are developing with industry) because we work in a community where the need to raise standards based on shared values is understood.  We are keen, however, to see work on updating the Building Regulations themselves accelerated to ensure that risk is managed in all cases, not merely contractualised.  Until Regulation catches us up we are in danger of seeing the good getting better, but may not be addressing that part of the market that where clients and contractors look at cost first and are willing to cut corners at the expense of quality and safety”.

A full copy of the guidance document and relevant annexes is available here

 This week a review of the impact of the ban on combustible cladding was also initiated.  You can find out more about this here.  FIS will be represented at a Round Table on this subject hosted by MHCLG next week looking at the impact on cavity trays in SFS systems.