Two staircases needed for tall residential buildings in London


When will a residential building be required to have a second staircase in London? 

We recently wrote on a building regulations consultation governing the requirement for two staircases in residential buildings over 30 m.  The full article can be found here.

The mayor of London has moved quickly.  On 14 February 2023 the mayor announced that with immediate effect the GLA would require residential buildings of 30 m or over (approximately 10 storeys) to have two staircases.

The currently adopted London plan contains policy D12 which requires all development proposals to achieve the highest standards of fire safety.  What the mayor has done is said that in order for a residential building of 30m or over to be policy compliant, policy D12 will require two staircases.

This is not an amendment to building regulations.  This is in effect an amendment to guidance for the interpretation of the London plan.

In order for a planning application to gain stage II approval from the GLA it will be required (from 14 February 2023) to have a second staircase for any residential building of 30m or over.

Will the changes have retrospective effect?

This will only affect planning applications which are going to the mayor for their stage II approval and will not have a retrospective effect on planning permissions that have already been granted.  The possible change to building regulations would, in effect, have a retrospective effect and will catch residential buildings that have already been consented that are 30 m or over and only have one staircase.  This consultation is due to end on 17 March 2023.

What is the possible impact of this change?

The feedback we have received from the industry is that these changes will make the viable construction of tall residential buildings within London exceedingly challenging and if the changes are introduced into building regulations, they will make the viable construction of tall residential buildings everywhere challenging.

If you would like further information please contact

Jade Chalmers

or Bob Sadler

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