Building standards technical handbooks 2020: summary of changes
Summary of changes included in the 2020 building standards technical handbooks which apply from 1 March 2021 and information on awareness events.
The main change introduced by the 2020 edition is a requirement for automatic fire suppression systems in all new flats and maisonettes, new social housing dwellings and new shared multi-occupancy residential buildings. There are related changes to the provision for fire safety within Section 2 (Fire) in both the domestic and non-domestic handbooks.
These changes form part of the output from the Ministerial Working Group on Building and Fire Safety and measures proposed within the 2018 consultation on fire safety.
The revised standards and supporting guidance apply to all building warrants submitted on or after 1 March 2021.
- Building standards technical handbook 2020: domestic buildings (html)
- Building standards technical handbook 2020: non-domestic buildings (html)
A full list of all latest changes can be found in clause 2.0.5 in each of the 2020 technical handbooks. A summary of the key changes are listed below:
Section 2 – Introduction
- guidance on the application of the section to certain building types amended to reflect 2021 changes and clarify intent, including reference to ‘shared multi-occupancy residential buildings’ as a defined building type
Domestic handbook – guidance to standard 2.9 (means of escape)
- Table 2.3 ‘Escape within dwellings’ updated as a result of amendment of the scope of Standard 2.15
- Table 2.4 ‘Escape routes’ replaced as a result of amendment of the scope of Standard 2.15; guidance simplified
Domestic handbook – guidance to standard 2.14 (fire and rescue service facilities)
- evacuation alert systems, reference to BS 8629 updated and additional guidance provided for networked systems;
- the scope of this standard is expanded to require automatic fire suppression systems in all new flats and maisonettes, new social housing dwellings and new shared multi-occupancy residential buildings
- additional guidance provided on issues to consider in the procurement of residential sprinkler systems
- additional guidance on alternative water mist suppression systems provided
- new guidance relating to automatic fire suppression systems in social housing dwellings, buildings containing flats and maisonettes and shared multi-occupancy residential buildings provided
- additional guidance on water supplies for automatic fire suppressions systems provided
A number of minor corrections including typographical errors, updating references to publications, British and European Standards and website hyperlinks have also been made.
Events and resources
Information on online events to raise awareness of these changes and any associated information resources will be published here as they are arranged.
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Building Standards Division
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