London Mayor wants evacuation lifts for all future high rises

Aaron Morby 5 months ago
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London’s mayor has set out his plan to impose a tougher fire safety regime for new high-rise buildings including designing in special resident evacuation lifts.

Sadiq Khan said his draft Fire Safety London Plan guidance would ensure fire safety was embedded in the early stages of all planning processes.

He also called on Government to review the Building Regulations to introduce a requirement for more than just one staircase escape route.

The draft guidance, which has been published for consultation, has the broad backing of the London Fire Brigade.

It comes after last month developer Ballymore withdrew an application to build a 51-storey block of luxury flats in Canary Wharf.

It tower plans were pulled after the London Fire Brigade raised concerns about the fire strategy for the building, which was designed with a single emergency staircase.

The Mayor’s new proposal would place a clear onus on developers to demonstrate that their schemes can be constructed and occupied safely with regards to the highest standards of fire safety, in a way that won’t impact neighbouring buildings.

Designers will need to show they had considered fire safety and the safe and dignified evacuation for all from the outset.

This would include where a fire engine would park in the event of fire, whether there was a safe and accessible evacuation route for occupants, whether the external walls were made of non-combustible materials and what fire safety measures would be incorporated into the buildings.

Khan said:The current building safety situation is a scandal and I am concerned that almost five years after the tragedy at Grenfell Tower, it appears that the Government are still not willing to properly address it.

“That’s why I’ve been using all the tools at my disposal to raise the standard of fire safety measures in London, through requirements for developers in my London Plan and lobbying developers and building owners to share vital fire safety information with residents.

“This draft guidance goes even further, and will ensure fire safety is embedded in the earliest stage of the design process.

“Ministers must do their part and urgently review and improve Building Regulations, including regulations relating to single escape staircases in very tall buildings.”

The draft Fire Safety London Plan Guidance will be up for consultation until 20 June 2022.

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