Double staircase concerns for construction industry. Just two days before Christmas ministers proposed several amendments to construction laws on fire safety. The amendment causing greatest concern within the industry is that all residential buildings above 30 metres tall would have to include two staircases.
So what’s the problem?
The government’s new consultation papers state that the double staircase would only apply to new buildings, there is “no evidence to suggest that existing buildings with a single stair above the proposed threshold pose a life safety risk.”
Building inspector and fire engineer Geoff Wilkinson raises the question that “if single stairs aren’t unsafe then what is the justification for the additional cost at a time when the industry faces recession, ongoing material cost-pressures and some predict a drop in property prices?”
Wilkinson goes on to add that additional staircases come at a major cost, as well as costs associated with the re-design of buildings, you would be losing at least one or two bedrooms per floor which will no longer make countless housing projects viable.
All agree that the industry needs to be kept well informed of upcoming changes in the three to six year period so that they can be managed and budgeted for.
The new proposals aim to further improve life safety, and designs continue to evolve with safety at their core. However, many working in the construction industry feel that unmanageable changes are being suggested. The National Fire Chiefs Council have now called on the government to propose at least two staircases in all residential buildings 18 metres or taller!
The discussion and resolution is far from over…
For more information, you can read this great article by Construction News.
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