The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) has published the following guidance document relating to Part 20 paragraph B of the GPDO:
- December 2020: Guidance about the requirement under Part 20 paragraph B of the GPDO for the developer to submit a report relating to the fire safety of the external wall construction (pdf) (link).
- Part 20 paragraph B of the GPDO sets out the procedure for where the developer needs to submit an application for prior approval under Part 20 of the GPDO.
- On 30/12/2020, the above procedure was amended to set out the following:
- 1) For Part 20 Classes A and AA, where the existing building is 18m or more in height, the developer now needs to submit "a report from a chartered engineer or other competent professional confirming that the external wall construction of the existing building complies with paragraph B4(1) of Schedule 1 to the Building Regulations 2010".
- 2) For Part 20 Classes A and AA, where the existing building is 18m or more in height, the LPA must refuse prior approval "if the application is not accompanied by the report".
- For reference, on 30/12/2020, Part 20 Classes A and AA were amended so that the developer needs to apply to the LPA with respect to the following additional issue:
- [If the existing building is 18m or more in height]: "the fire safety of the external wall construction of the existing building".
- The above guidance document (which was published on 30/12/2020) includes the following information:
- "This new requirement requires a developer seeking prior approval under [Part 20 Classes A and AA] in relation to an existing building, which is 18 metres or more in height, to provide a report from a chartered engineer or other competent professional confirming that the external wall construction of the existing building complies with paragraph B4(1) of Schedule 1 to the Building Regulations 2010 (S.I. 2010/2214) to the local planning authority.".
- "Paragraph B4(1) provides that the external walls of the building shall adequately resist the spread of fire over the walls and from one building to another, having regard to the height, use and position of the building.".
- "Where a report is not provided the local planning authority must refuse prior approval. This requirement will further encourage any necessary remediation works to be done quickly.".
- "The precise format of the report is not specified.".
- "The Department does not expect local planning authorities to have the necessary expertise to scrutinise such reports in detail. However, they should take reasonable steps to satisfy themselves there is no reason to doubt the conclusions of the report. In this respect, they may wish to check with the building control department if they have concerns about the building in question. It should be noted also that historic evidence of building regulations approval should not be considered as conclusive evidence that a building is safe.".
- "Planning authorities should also take reasonable steps to satisfy themselves that the reports have been produced by suitably qualified and experienced professionals. There is no exhaustive list of qualifications but the advice from the independent expert panel issued by the Department provides further guidance on this matter.".
- "In some cases, the analysis needed may be straightforward, in which case a competent fire safety professional with adequate experience in fire safety and knowledge of external wall systems may be used. In others, it will be more complex and require advice from a qualified engineer with relevant experience in fire safety, including the fire testing of building products and systems, such as a Chartered Engineer registered with the UK Engineering Council by the Institution of Fire Engineers.".
- "If the local planning authority is not satisfied with the expertise of the author of the report, they may refuse prior approval.".
- Note: For more information about the above amendments (which were made by SI 2020 No. 1459) to Part 20 Classes A and AA and Part 20 paragraph B, please view this post.
Updates to the Planning Jungle website:
- The "GPDO Part 20 (All Classes) - Official Documents" page has been updated to list the above guidance document.
- The "GPDO Other Parts - Summary of Amendments since 2013" page has been updated to list the above guidance document.