Author Topic: Building Regs and Local Acts  (Read 12187 times)

Offline wee brian

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Offline kurnal

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Re: Building Regs and Local Acts
« Reply #1 on: December 27, 2012, 04:04:06 PM »
Thanks for the update Wee B. I note that the Local Acts will be repealed with effect from 9 Jan 2013.

Playing the devils advocate I am curious as to how the changes will affect existing buildings, if at all.

Now if I have a building with additional fire safety provisions installed solely for compliance with the local enactments- lets say for arguments sake a single storey storage building of less than 20000m2 that is fully  compliant with the current ADB but in addition has ventilation installed in the roof due to a local enactment.

The vents are in very poor condition and I wish to disable or remove them but am mindful of Article 38 of the RRFSO.

Will it be necessary to submit an application under the Building Regulations or can it be solely dealt with through the fire risk assessment ?
« Last Edit: December 28, 2012, 08:07:05 AM by kurnal »

Offline wee brian

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Re: Building Regs and Local Acts
« Reply #2 on: December 28, 2012, 09:17:06 AM »
That's one for the lawyers, but I think not.

It would only need a Building Regs application if you/the local authority think its a material alteration. This is a notoriousely difficult question so I'd be tempted to get a view from the people in building control before you get carried away.

Offline Northern Uproar

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Re: Building Regs and Local Acts
« Reply #3 on: January 02, 2013, 11:11:54 AM »
Here's the SI

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2012/3124/pdfs/uksi_20123124_en.pdf

IN the notes, it says that any existing condition imposed by a repealed provision will cease to have effect.

Offline kurnal

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Re: Building Regs and Local Acts
« Reply #4 on: January 02, 2013, 07:25:05 PM »
Thanks NU. Personally I cant make head or tail of para 4.

"where premises...... are provided in respect of premises in connection with general fire precautions to safeguard the safety of relevant persons persuant to a provision repealed by regulation 2 the responsible person must comply with article 17 of the RR(FS)O as if a reference to enactments repealed or revoked by the RRFSO included a reference to enactments repealed by Regulation 2."

Does it make any sense at all?

Few if any of these provisions were provided for the protection of relevant persons in any case.

Is Northern Uproar's  interpretation correct?
« Last Edit: January 02, 2013, 07:28:52 PM by kurnal »

Offline AnthonyB

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Re: Building Regs and Local Acts
« Reply #5 on: January 02, 2013, 09:10:15 PM »
Existing conditions
3. Subject to regulation 4, any condition imposed before the date on which these Regulations
come into force under a provision repealed by regulation 2 shall cease to have effect from that
date, and no proceedings or other action may be begun or continued on or after that date to enforce
such condition or conditions.


So any requirement of a Local Act detailed in this Regulation is repealed (mainly requirements relating to car park spaces safety and some fire related installations) UNLESS it is covered in regulation 4

Saving
4.—(1) Where any premises or facilities, equipment or devices are provided in respect of
premises in connection with general fire precautions to safeguard the safety of relevant persons
pursuant to a provision repealed by regulation 2, the responsible person must comply with article
17 of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005(a) (“the 2005 Order”) as if a reference to
enactments repealed or revoked by the 2005 Order included a reference to enactments repealed by
regulation 2.
(2) “General fire precautions”, “relevant persons” and “responsible person” shall have the same
meanings as in the 2005 Order.


So the car park stuff is gone...but this means the fire safety requirements are now subject to article 17.....

Maintenance

17.—(1) Where necessary in order to safeguard the safety of relevant persons the responsible person must ensure that the premises and any facilities, equipment and devices provided in respect of the premises under this Order or, subject to paragraph (6), under any other enactment, including any enactment repealed or revoked by this Order, are subject to a suitable system of maintenance and are maintained in an efficient state, in efficient working order and in good repair.

(2) Where the premises form part of a building, the responsible person may make arrangements with the occupier of any other premises forming part of the building for the purpose of ensuring that the requirements of paragraph (1) are met.

(3) Paragraph (2) applies even if the other premises are not premises to which this Order applies.

(4) The occupier of the other premises must co-operate with the responsible person for the purposes of paragraph (2).

(5) Where the occupier of the other premises is not also the owner of those premises, the references to the occupier in paragraphs (2) and (4) are to be taken to be references to both the occupier and the owner.

(6) Paragraph (1) only applies to facilities, equipment and devices provided under other enactments where they are provided in connection with general fire precautions.


So we have to maintain fire safety provisions under Local Acts if they are for general fire precautions....

Meaning of “general fire precautions”

4.—(1) In this Order “general fire precautions” in relation to premises means, subject to paragraph (2)—

(a)measures to reduce the risk of fire on the premises and the risk of the spread of fire on the premises;
(b)measures in relation to the means of escape from the premises;
(c)measures for securing that, at all material times, the means of escape can be safely and effectively used;
(d)measures in relation to the means for fighting fires on the premises;
(e)measures in relation to the means for detecting fire on the premises and giving warning in case of fire on the premises; and
(f)measures in relation to the arrangements for action to be taken in the event of fire on the premises, including—
(i)measures relating to the instruction and training of employees; and
(ii)measures to mitigate the effects of the fire.


Now my sprinklers required in my small building could come under (a) and possibly (b), (c) and even (d) or (e). My smoke vents in my warehouse could at a push be (b)....


My reading is that this new regulation means that:
- Local Act car parking safety requirements will no longer be imposed on new developments/significant changes and in existing buildings need not be maintained
- Local Act fire safety requirements will no longer be imposed on new developments/significant changes but in existing buildings will need to be maintained unless you can show they were not put in for general fire precautions purposes (which depending on the measure may not be easy)
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Offline kurnal

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Re: Building Regs and Local Acts
« Reply #6 on: January 03, 2013, 08:43:36 AM »
Thanks Anthony.

So going back to my original scenario re vents in a small single storey warehouse.

As I can show that the premises would be fully compliant in every respect with the current ADB / BS9999 without the existing vents, (ADB has no provision for smoke or heat ventilation in this situation) they are clearly not put in for general fire precautions purposes.

Therefore does anybody think I am I correct in saying that removing them would not be a material alteration?

Offline wee brian

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Re: Building Regs and Local Acts
« Reply #7 on: January 03, 2013, 09:44:22 AM »
You're probably right. But compliance with the AD isnt necessarily 100% compliance with the requirement. So there might be a good "general fire precautions" reason to retain the vents.

Offline Northern Uproar

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Re: Building Regs and Local Acts
« Reply #8 on: January 03, 2013, 09:53:02 AM »
True, but you'd have to look at the building's original fire strategy, as the requirements of a Local Act may have been used to justify other parts of, say, B1 for extended travel distances as they had to be put in anyway, so will become part of the GFP. Some hapless building owner may see the press releases and think about cost savings on maintenance w/o seeing the knock on effects on his FSO assessment.

IN terms of 'Material Alteration', if there are 'works' (ie pulling out the electrics) then this would be a MA, wheras leaving it in an unrepaired state wouldn't. Any provisions required under B5 would have to be no worse than the benchmark standard (ADB, say) so if Provision X was needed for compliance, and you have Provisions X and Y due to an LA, the removal of Y would not be any worse than what is required under B5, so should be satisfactory (but an application would still be required)

Offline Fishy

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Re: Building Regs and Local Acts
« Reply #9 on: January 03, 2013, 12:10:50 PM »
Thanks Anthony.

So going back to my original scenario re vents in a small single storey warehouse.

As I can show that the premises would be fully compliant in every respect with the current ADB / BS9999 without the existing vents, (ADB has no provision for smoke or heat ventilation in this situation) they are clearly not put in for general fire precautions purposes.

Therefore does anybody think I am I correct in saying that removing them would not be a material alteration?

Sounds rather like a potential 'reverse ALARP' argument to me.  

It's very difficult to justify doings works whose primary result is to remove an existing risk reduction measure which reduces fire risk (however slightly) - even if you'd still be compliant with standards.  

Basically, by providing the fire risk reduction measure you've demonstrated that it's reasonably practicable to achieve the resulting level of fire risk - so you can't usually argue that removing it (and thus increasing fire risk) is ALARP unless you do something else to bring fire  risk back down below the existing benchmark.  HSE Report RR151 (Good Practice & Pitfalls in Risk Assessment - http://www.hse.gov.uk/research/rrhtm/rr151.htm ) & more specifically to fire Chapter 5 of the CIBSE Guide E (Fire Engineering) give details of how you might consider the removal of existing risk reduction measures & still be able to demonstrate risks are ALARP.  It's a much tougher test than the one that you might use to consider whether to provide the measure in the first place.

Offline BCO

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Re: Building Regs and Local Acts
« Reply #10 on: January 06, 2013, 10:07:27 PM »
Kurnal
The question  ‘is the removal of the vents a material alteration which is controllable by the Building Regulations’. The answer to which would then lead on to two other questions.
1)   Is a Building Regulation application required
2)   Would the removal of the vents comply with the Building Regulations
So is it a material alteration? The short answer is no.
First point is there has to be ‘works’ i.e. an action. The vents are being removed and not just left to become operational therefore there is ‘works’ (tick in the box)
Second point requires the works to make the building non-compliant with either B1 B3 B4 B5. Or less compliant where previously it did not meet the required standard.
If as you say the building can be shown to follow ADB or similar without the vents then the works do not cause the provisions of schedule 1 of the BRs (B1 B3…..) not to be complied with and.. as the existing situation was not ‘unsatisfactory/non-compliant’ removing an existing provision does not constitute a material alteration.  (therefore no tick in the box)

Therefore no material alteration is made by the removal of the vent (in your hypothetical situation). As such 1) A building Regulation application is not required (but it would be desirable) and 2) the removal of the vent would comply with the Building Regulations only if it can be shown that the vents are not required to comply with B1-B5. Which in your description is the case.

Offline kurnal

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Re: Building Regs and Local Acts
« Reply #11 on: January 07, 2013, 06:49:47 AM »
Thanks to all for sharing your opinions.
Fishy I agree with your caution in respect of Reverse ALARP and it is a very relevant point that needs to be recognised and fully acknowledged but without going overboard. The guidance is there, and it needs to be for the protection of the vulnerable against greed and corner cutting but it just a factor to be considered alongside all considerations of what is a tolerable risk and why and  IMO it sits alongside and equal to other factors such as the standards set out in National Guidance and societal tolerable risk levels.

BCO thanks - your views mirror mine but I am curious as to the reasons that you think an application would be desirable if it is not a requirement? Is it simply a back covering exercise  for the benefit of the second opinion?

Offline BCO

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Re: Building Regs and Local Acts
« Reply #12 on: January 07, 2013, 08:40:52 AM »
Kurnal, desirable for the regulator because it would give the opportunity to confirm that your (or whoevers) evaluation that the vents are not required is correct. The application process would also trigger the consultation with the fire service which is further review and scrutiny. So yes you could call it a back covering exercise.
However, as it is not a material alteration there would be no statutory duty to make that application.

Offline wee brian

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Re: Building Regs and Local Acts
« Reply #13 on: January 07, 2013, 10:05:57 AM »
The problem comes, after the event, if the council thinks the vents were necessary. you've committed the offence of not making an application and the offence of making the building less compliant. I would defo drop them a line telling them what you are doing.

Offline kurnal

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Re: Building Regs and Local Acts
« Reply #14 on: January 07, 2013, 08:05:03 PM »
Thanks everybody received and understood.