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Policy D11 Fire safety


  1. In the interests of fire safety and to ensure the safety of all building users, development proposals must achieve the highest standards of fire safety and ensure that they:
    1. are designed to incorporate appropriate features which reduce the risk to life in the event of a fire
    2. are constructed in an appropriate way to minimise the risk of fire spread
    3. provide suitable and convenient means of escape for all building users
    4. adopt a robust strategy for evacuation which all building users can have confidence in
    5. provide suitable access and equipment for firefighting which is appropriate for the size and use of the development.
  2. All major development proposals should be submitted with a Fire Statement, which is an independent fire strategy, produced by a third party suitably qualified assessor. The statement should detail how the development proposal will function in terms of:
    1. the building’s construction: methods, products and materials used
    2. the means of escape for all building users: stair cores, escape for building users who are disabled or require level access, and the associated management plan approach
    3. access for fire service personnel and equipment: how this will be achieved in an evacuation situation, water supplies, provision and positioning of equipment, firefighting lifts, stairs and lobbies, any fire suppression and smoke ventilation systems proposed, and the ongoing maintenance and monitoring of these
    4. how provision will be made within the site to enable fire appliances to gain access to the building.

The fire safety of developments should be considered from the outset. Development agreements, development briefs and procurement processes should be explicit about incorporating and requiring the highest standards of fire safety. How a building will function in terms of fire, emergency evacuation, and the safety of all users should be considered at the earliest possible stage to ensure the most successful outcomes are achieved, creating developments that are safe and that Londoners can have confidence living in and using.

The subject of fire safety is covered by Part B of the Building Regulations. However to ensure that development proposals achieve the highest standards of fire safety, reducing risk to life, minimising the risk of fire spread, and providing suitable and convenient means of escape which all building users can have confidence in, applicants should consider issues of fire safety before building control application stage, taking into account the diversity of and likely behaviour of the population as a whole. Developments, their floor layouts and cores need to be planned around issues of fire safety and a robust strategy for evacuation from the outset, embedding and integrating a suitable strategy and relevant design features at the earliest possible stage, rather than features or products being applied to pre-determined developments which could result is less successful schemes which fail to achieve the highest standards of fire safety.

Suitable suppression systems (such as sprinklers) installed in buildings can reduce the risk to life and significantly reduce the degree of damage caused by fire, and should be explored at an early stage of building design.

Policy D3 Inclusive design requires development to incorporate safe and dignified emergency evacuation for all building users, by as independent means as possible. Where lifts are installed, Policy D3 Inclusive design requires a minimum of one lift per core to be a fire evacuation lift, which incorporating suitable levels of fire resistance to elements of construction forming refuges, evacuation lift enclosures, and lobbies.

Fire statements should be submitted with all major development proposals. These should be produced by a third-party independent suitably-qualified assessor. This should be a qualified engineer with relevant experience in fire safety, such as a chartered engineer registered with the Engineering Council by the Institution of Fire Engineers. Planning departments should work with and be assisted by suitably qualified and experienced officers within borough building control departments and/or the London Fire Brigade, in the evaluation of these statements.