Welsh Government urged to include existing flats in fire safety reforms

Welsh Government urged to include existing flats in fire safety reforms

0:03 AM, 17th January 2024, About 3 months ago

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The Welsh Government has launched a consultation on new fire safety regulations for high-rise buildings, following the ban on some combustible materials in 2018.

The new rules would cover more materials, buildings and emergency systems, but they would not apply to existing flats.

Now Propertymark has expressed its support for the consultation, but also its concern for the safety of residents in existing flats.

‘Leaving existing flats out of the latest proposals’

It says: “We are perplexed about the rationale behind leaving existing flats out of the latest proposals.”

According to Propertymark, the new regulations should be extended to all buildings that are considered ‘high-risk’, regardless of their age or height.

This would include installing Evacuation Alert Systems (EAS), Secure Information Boxes and wayfinding signage in flats with a floor of 11m or more above ground level.

These systems would help firefighters and residents in case of a fire.

Cladding ban should be expanded

Propertymark also suggested that the existing combustible cladding ban, which the consultation proposes to apply to hotels, hostels and boarding houses, should be expanded to other high-use non-residential buildings, such as office blocks.

The organisation says: “While we understand that there is a reduced occupancy overnight, bringing high-use buildings up to similar standards would further protect the safety of occupants.”

Also, Propertymark recommends that a qualified fire risk assessor should be required to assess individual properties under 11 metres in height, to determine if the new regulations should apply to them.

This would consider factors such as restrictive planning, escape routes and fire safety risks.

Propertymark is now urging the Welsh Government to listen to its feedback and to include existing flats in the fire safety reforms.

It says: “We support many of the proposals made in the consultation, however, we urge for an even greater impact on fire safety and across existing flats.”

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