The LWF Blog

Fire Statements – Part One – Planning Gateway One

August 16, 2021 2:24 pm

From 1 August 2021, a new requirement which feeds into the existing planning system has been implemented by the UK Government. The Town and Country Planning (Development Management Procedure) (England) Order 2015 has been amended to include the necessity of submitting Fire Statements with regular applications for planning permission in certain circumstances.

The change has been instigated by the government’s response to the Grenfell Tower fire in 2017 and is a first step in what will be an extensive regulatory change in fire safety and building safety. It is anticipated that the Building Safety Bill will be introduced later in 2021, the draft version having been published in July 2020.

It was determined by the Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety, led by Dame Judith Hackitt, that:

Some minimum requirements around fire safety will need to be addressed when local planning authorities are determining planning applications and will require input from those with the relevant expertise.”

Planning Gateway One is what has been introduced to fulfil that requirement and has two key elements:

  • to require the developer to submit a fire statement setting out fire safety considerations specific to the development with a relevant application for planning permission for development which involves one or more relevant buildings, and
  • to establish the Health and Safety Executive as a statutory consultee for relevant planning applications

The over-arching aim is to ensure that developers of certain types of building pay particular attention to fire safety matters as they pertain to land use planning, such as site layout, water supplies for firefighting purposes and sufficient access for firefighting appliances.

The information provided in the Fire Statement will help to enable effective decision-making by local planning authorities. Specialist fire safety expertise is provided to local planning authorities on a statutory basis.

The Fire Statement addition will be necessary for any planning application which involves a relevant residential high-rise building. The Fire Statement form has been provided online and with a downloadable PDF version for printing off where necessary.

Planning Gateway One is the first part of what will become a three-stage gateway process which relevant developments and buildings must pass through.

Gateway Two takes place at the technical design and construction phase and provides a ‘hard stop’ point, with the addition of the Building Safety Regulator (BSR) as the approving authority for relevant buildings. It will be necessary to submit a building control application and construction will not be permitted to begin until the BSR has approved the application.

Gateway Three relates to the current building control completion or final certificate stage of a development. It will also provide a ‘hard stop’ point, where BSR completes final inspections and then issues a completion certificate. Prescribed documents and information will be required on the as-built building and must be handed over to the person or persons responsible for the building in use.

It should be noted that Gateway Two and Three are not yet in place and updates will be issued when more information is available.

Gateway One applies to relevant multi-occupied buildings of 18 metres or more in height and/or of 7 or more storeys, whichever is reached first.

LWF’s blog series on the Fire Statement will include information on the type of buildings affected by the changes, provide detail on what information must be included and give an overview of the application process and form. Part two of this series will consider what buildings the changes apply to. In the meantime, if you have any queries about your own project or wish to discuss this blog series, please contact LWF on freephone 0800 410 1130.

Lawrence Webster Forrest is a fire engineering consultancy based in Surrey with over 25 years’ experience, which provides a wide range of consultancy services to professionals involved in the design, development and construction and operation of buildings.

While care has been taken to ensure that information contained in LWF’s publications is true and correct at the time of publication, changes in circumstances after the time of publication may impact on the accuracy of this information.

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