In a written statement to Parliament this week, Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Michael Gove confirmed the transitional arrangements for second staircases in new residential buildings in England above 18 metres. From the date when the Government formally publishes the changes to Approved Document B, there will be a period of 30 months during which new Building Regulations applications can meet either the existing or the updated requirements. At the end of that period, all applications will be required to meet the updated requirements.

We understand that approved applications that have chosen to follow the existing guidance will have a further 18 months for construction to ‘sufficiently progress’. There will be no requirement to add a second staircase at a later stage provided they are built in accordance with the existing standards, well‐maintained and properly managed.

The Government has also published additional guidance on determining whether a building is a Higher‐Risk Building (HRB) as the definition varies for new buildings, existing buildings, and those ‘in occupation’. It confirms that military accommodation which is over 18 metres or at least 7 storeys and has two or more residential units will be brought into scope of the HRB regime.