East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service (ESFRS) offers free good will fire safety advice and business support. Early consultation with the fire service when planning or designing buildings can have a significant impact on reducing financial implications for all stakeholders.
Procedural guidance on Building Regulations and Fire Safety (LABC.Building-Regulations-and-Fire-Safety-Procedural-GuidanceV2.150720.pdf) explains how the process of consultation works and the roles and responsibilities of each party.
The key aim of the consultation process is to ensure that there will be no need for extra building work to be done prior to occupation of the building.
By having a process of consultation, this provides an opportunity for East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service, as the local fire and rescue service and the enforcing authority for the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (FSO), to make comments during the design phase of the project.
The Government Planning Portal offers further information about planning and building regulations.
Sending your consultation to us
We are happy to receive your consultation submissions via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Please ensure the subject line contains the title ‘Building Regulations Consultation’. Please indicate which guidance document has been used as the basis for the design (e.g. ADB, BS9999 etc). Please also let us know whether you are happy to receive consultation responses via email.
Early submission of consultation is strongly recommended to avoid or reduce the risk of costly alterations being required late in the build project. Consultation should ideally be no later in the design process than Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) stage 3.
We welcome pre-consultation and actively encourage it, as recommended in the procedural guidance.
What information do we need?
To help us help you we need the following information to be included in your submission:
- A statement to the effect that the submission is considered to meet the building regulations or if not, what additional measures are deemed necessary
- Existing and proposed plans for submissions relating to existing buildings
- Confirmation of the guidance document that has been used as the basis for the design
- Clear justification and supporting evidence for any proposed variations from the guidance documents that are used as the basis for the design
- Fire strategy drawings and notes which have sufficient detail to show how B1-B5 will be met
- Purpose group and proposed use
- Fire alarm and detection
- Proposed number of occupants
- Means of escape to a place of ultimate safety and supporting calculations for exit and stair widths
- Protection for inner room conditions
- Emergency lighting
- Fire exit signage
- Fire separation and fire resisting construction
- Door security arrangements on doors required for egress
- Boundary conditions
- Firefighter access
- Where only a small part of the building is being altered, sufficient detail to show how the work relates to the building as a whole
Occasionally we will need further information as part of the process. Please provide this when requested.
The information required under Regulation 38 is vital for the responsible person to complete and record a suitable and sufficient fire risk assessment as required by the FSO. Please emphasise this to the client.
Please provide copies of completion certificates when requested.
When partial occupation is planned before completion of the project the requirements of the FSO will apply. If the developer indicates that this is planned, please liaise with ESFRS.
Third Party Certification
The reliability and performance of correctly specified fire safety measures can be undermined by inadequate installation. It is important that installers with the necessary level of skill and knowledge are used. ESFRS endorse the use of reputable third-party accreditation schemes which provide a means of ensuring that the installation of fire safety measures has been conducted by knowledgeable contractors to appropriate standards, thereby increasing the reliability of the anticipated performance in fire.
If you intend to carry out building work, you may need to ensure the works comply with the Building Regulations 2010. The regulations will probably apply if you want to:
- Erect a new building
- Extend or alter the internal/external layout of an existing building
- Provide services and/or fittings in a building such as washing and sanitary facilities, hot water cylinders, foul water and rainwater drainage, replacement windows, and fuel burning appliances of any type
- Alter the fundamental use of the building (for example convert office to hotel)
The local authority building control department or approved inspector is the lead authority and responsible for ensuring compliance with the building regulations. ESFRS provide a consultation service to building control bodies and approved inspectors. Consultation relates to fire safety provisions in the design, construction and adaptation of buildings. Legal requirements and national guidance determine the consultation process.
If the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (FSO) applies to the premises or will apply following the building work, it is a legal requirement that the building control body must consult with ESFRS.
The Fire Safety Order applies to nearly all non-domestic premises, and whilst it does not apply to single private dwellings, it does apply to the common parts of buildings containing two or more domestic premises.
In deciding the suitability of design proposals for building regulations purposes, ESFRS will consider the guidance provided in “Approved Document B – Fire Safety” which is available free of charge to download from gov.uk. Fire safety: Approved Document B - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk).
This guidance can be applied to more common building solutions, but can prove unacceptable for larger, more complex buildings where there may be other ways in which an equivalent level of fire safety can be achieved.
Where the work is more complex or where typical industry design solutions are not applied, fire engineering may be used as an alternative way of demonstrating compliance.
Whilst ESFRS will offer observations to the building control body (BCB) regarding compliance with the Building Regulations, the primary role is to provide the applicant (via the BCB) with advice on how completed building work must comply with the Fire Safety Order so that satisfactory levels of fire precautions are in place once the building becomes occupied.
This type of consultation ensures, as far as possible, that no additional works are necessary once the building is occupied.
Fire engineering is carried out on premises where typical fire solutions are not appropriate, often because of the uniqueness of their design, to meet building codes. This approach deviates from Approved Document B enabling buildings of more complex designs to be constructed whilst achieving an equivalent standard of safety. The benefits that fire engineering alternatives can bring to a design include: greater flexibility; reduced costs; and, measures more suited to the building use. Early consultation with ESFRS will facilitate a better approach to delivering these projects.
As a statutory consultee we are offered the opportunity to make comments and observations on the fire safety proposals for the design and will use this as an opportunity to recommend appropriate improvements. This process also allows ESFRS to engage with planners, architects, developers and engineers to seek continual improvement in the safety of new and refurbished buildings within East Sussex and Brighton and Hove.
The Chartered Institute of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE) Guide E is intended to be the ‘go to’ document for building services engineers and fire life-safety consultants. The guide addresses the design of essential life-safety systems that aim to protect building occupants, firefighters, and businesses and properties (including heritage buildings).
Who deals with planning applications?
In the county of East Sussex the Planning Policy and Development Management Team Planning | East Sussex County Council are responsible for making decisions about minerals extraction, waste management and developments such as schools, libraries and roads. Most day-to-day planning applications, including building new homes or offices and house extensions, are decided by borough and district councils.
In the city of Brighton and Hove, the local authority deal with all planning applications for building, extending or converting homes, offices or shops, as well as applications for minerals or waste related developments, and for developments to its own properties, such as schools and libraries. Planning (brighton-hove.gov.uk)