The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan is spearheading vital fire safety improvements in the capital, launching a full public consultation on innovative draft guidance to ensure that all new developments are designed with the highest standards of fire safety from the earliest stage.

The Mayor has a strategic planning role for the city. Khan’s ‘London Plan’ sets out guidance for development and building across the city. The Mayor of London has repeatedly suggested that the fire safety requirements in existing national Building Regulations are not fit for purpose and the progress of reform is too slow. With this draft Fire Safety London Plan Guidance, Khan is looking to ensure fire safety is embedded in the early stages of all planning processes.

This guidance sets out how developers should demonstrate compliance with the detailed London Plan policies to achieve the highest standards in fire safety and ‘safe and dignified’ evacuations. This is in addition to the Government’s fire safety considerations that apply only to a limited number of buildings at the planning application stage.

The draft guidance also highlights that it’s the responsibility of developers to demonstrate that their developments can be constructed and occupied safely with regards to the highest standards of fire safety, and in a way that will not impact neighbouring buildings.

To ensure this, the design of the development needs to consider fire safety and the safe and dignified evacuation for all from the outset.

The guidance seeks to:

  • Ensure that competent fire safety experts are involved at the earliest stage of the design process
  • Ensure that evacuation lifts – and the space and measures required for them to operate as such – are included in developments such that people can evacuate a building with dignity during an emergency
  • Ensure that fire safety and evacuation measures are identified at the planning application stage and can be referred to in each subsequent stage of the development process

The early consideration of fire safety in the design process helps to ensure the right measures are in place to limit the spread of fire and ensures that the best evacuation strategy can be implemented if required in the event of an emergency scenario.

This guidance is just one part of the wider work that Khan is undertaking to protect and support Londoners on fire safety. For example, providers of the Affordable Homes Programme must deliver high standards in fire safety. Khan is lobbying on behalf of flat leaseholders to prevent them from bearing the unfair costs of remediating their building.

Sadiq Khan stated, “I’m committed to ensuring that all Londoners feel safe in their homes and that, in the event of an emergency, they can evacuate safely and with dignity.”