Consultation on Fire safety changes to the local Building Regulations

Consultation opened on 03 July 2023. Closing date 25 September 2023.


Fire safety measures in buildings established through the local Building Regulations contribute significantly to maintaining life safety standards for occupants/residents and firefighters alike, not to mention the contribution they make in terms of property protection.

The proposed consultation contains amendments to uplift fire safety protection measures in a range of buildings. They are mainly focused on residential buildings and in particular domestic multi-residential buildings, to provide assurance and additional safety measures to residents. Some amendments are aimed at assisting the Fire and Rescue Service to ensure they can provide an effective operational response. The intended effect of the proposals is to reduce the consequences of fire through saving lives and preventing injuries.


Consultation description

The changes proposed in this consultation gives the detail of the Department’s intention to amend Part E (Fire safety) of the Building Regulations and the accompanying guidance set out in Technical Booklet E (Fire safety) (TBE). The proposals include:

  • A new functional regulation in Part E to require the person carrying out the work to provide adequate fire safety information to the person who has fire safety duties in any ‘relevant premises’ as defined under ‘The Fire and Rescue Services (Northern Ireland) Order 2006’ (FRS(NI)O). The requirement will also apply to buildings containing flats with a storey more than 11m above ground level.
  • A new prescriptive regulation in Part E to require the provision of suitable automatic fire suppression systems (e.g. sprinklers) in certain types of buildings. These buildings will include buildings containing flats and specific purpose-built student accommodation, both with a storey more than 11m above ground level. All residential care premises, including residential care homes, nursing homes, children’s homes and family resident centres, irrespective of storey height will also be included.
  • A number of changes to Technical Booklet E (TBE) (Fire safety) to -
  1.  give guidance to the new requirement for provision of fire safety information;
  2.  give guidance on sprinklers to the new requirement to install suitable automatic fire suppression systems;
  3.  amend the guidance for means of escape to increase the smoke alarm coverage to all habitable rooms in all new dwellings. Also clarified guidance on coverage of alarm expected after an extension and/or alteration work to an existing dwelling;
  4. amend the guidance for means of escape to clarify the measures needed to ensure adequate smoke ventilation from the common escape routes of buildings containing flats;
  5. amend the guidance for ‘Facilities and Access for the Fire and Rescue Service’ to assist firefighters in their operations of search and rescue and firefighting. These amendments include enhanced firefighting shaft, vehicle access and fire mains provisions. Also new requirements for emergency evacuation alert systems, wayfinding signage and secure information box provisions in buildings containing flats with a storey over a certain height.

An online information event took place on Tuesday 18 July, during which the Department set out these proposals.

For those unable to attend the event, an anonymised Q&A summary from the event and a voiced over video of the presentation slides are available:-

The Department is considering all responses to this consultation received on or before the closing date and will publish a response in due course.

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