Stricter fire safety guidance for new high-rise buildings comes into force

New hotels, hostels and boarding houses that are at least 18m high have been added to the list of buildings that have to follow stricter fire safety standards.

Future guest accommodations in England will now have to adhere to a ban on the use of combustible materials in and on external walls, which the government kicked into gear in late 2018.

The regulations (SI 2018/1230) were initially enforced for new high-rise blocks of flats more than 18m in height, as well as hospitals, care premises and student accommodation that are over the same height, to improve public safety.

Additionally, the latest building regulation changes include a complete ban on metal composite material with an unmodified polyethylene core — which was used on the Grenfell Tower — in the external walls of all new buildings and property undergoing works, regardless of height or use.

All new residential buildings over 11m will now have to include a Secure Information Box that will give fire and rescue services access to important details about a building in the event of a fire.

Responding to the news, Sam Morris, lending associate at development finance lender TAB, said: "It's reassuring to see steps being taken to ensure the safety of those working and residing in buildings that could be putting occupants at risk.

“From a commercial perspective, we are now watching how the banks and larger commercial term lenders view lending against these sorts of assets.

“Our borrowers often rely on these banks and larger lenders as a part of their strategy to refinance TAB loans, so we need to ensure we're remaining up to date on the eligibility for lending against these properties.”

Sam added it will be business as usual for the finance provider and its borrowers seeking to acquire or refinance properties that bigger or more traditional lenders won't. 

“With an open and commercially minded approach, we will continue to assess every case presented to us on its individual merits and continue to support our borrowers," Sam added.

The government’s decision to make these amendments follows an 18-week consultation — running from 20th January 2020 to 25th May — which saw over 800 responses, mainly made up of architects, designers, engineers, surveyors, manufacturers, construction professionals, builders, developers and trade bodies.

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