Building Regulations and Fire Safety for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland

Introduction to Fire Safety and Building Regulations

UK building regulations and fire safety map

There are separate fire safety Building Regulations for England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, and each region has its own, specific guidance on how to comply. The requirements for insulated panel and façade systems across all four are very similar.

There is separate building regulations fire guidance for domestic and non-domestic buildings, and within that guidance there are classifications of Building Purpose Group, according to use. Those Building Purpose Groups that are considered to have greater potential levels of risk because of the type of occupancy, such as schools and hospitals, should meet additional requirements to be considered compliant.

Further requirements also come into play for buildings with habitable storeys over 18 metres, not including plant rooms on roofs. There are several ways to comply with these more stringent requirements. Take a look at our page on Compliance for Buildings Over 18m for more information.

Within each of the Regulations, there is provision for British and European standards such as BS 476 and EN 13501, for reaction to fire and fire resistance tests. The primary focus of these tests and the Regulations they support is to help ensure life safety.

Building Purpose Groups that are considered to have greater potential levels of risk because of the type of occupancy, such as schools and hospitals, should meet additional fire safety requirements to be considered compliant.

Requirements for Fire Safety of external walls in England, Scotland and Wales

The requirements for fire safety of external walls are very similar in all three countries.

The mandatory Building Regulations that apply to insulated panel and façade systems are set out in:

  • Part B, Fire Safety, of Schedule 1 to the Building Regulations 2010 in England and Wales, and
  • Section 2 of the  Technical Handbook - Non-Domestic – Fire in Scotland 2015

Note: Supporting guidance is not mandatory, including that contained in Approved Document B – Vol. 1: 2006 for England and Wales, and Technical Handbooks 2015 Non-Domestic for Scotland.

Additional guidance for highly sensitive buildings, such as schools and hospitals can be found in:

  • British Standard BS 9999:2017 - Fire Safety in the design, management and use of buildings, code of practice;
  • BB100 Designing against the risk of fire in schools (schools);
  • HTM 05-02: 2014: Fire Safety in design of healthcare premises.

Requirements for Fire Safety of Roof Constructions

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The Building Regulations for England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland require roofs exposed to external fires to provide protection against fire penetration into the space beneath the roof and against the spread of flames across the surface of the roof.

The relevant test is BS 476-3: 2004 - Fire test on building materials and structures - Part 3: Classification and methods of test for external fire exposure to roofs. The Building Regulations also make provision for European standards therefore EN13501-5 is deemed to be comparable for compliance purposes for roof panel systems in England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

The performance of the roof construction in this test is predominantly measured by the application of an external fire source to measure fire propagation. Classification is designated by two letters, the first concerning fire penetration and the second fire spread.

The fire performance classification achieved in BS 476 : Part 3 :2004 is used in the Building Regulations to limit the use, near a boundary, of roof coverings which will not give adequate protection against the spread of fire over or through them.

It is worth noting that Kingspan roof panel systems achieve an SAA classification under BS 476-3:2004 therefore can be used without restriction on all roof applications across the England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

More on Compliance and Fire Testing for Kingspan Façade Systems

You may also be interested in these areas:

Contact our Fire Engineering Services team for project or product support.

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