While construction continues, fire and building regulations for high rise buildings are undergoing intense reviews following the Grenfell Fire in 2017 and Hackitt’s subsequent Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety. The reviews seek changes to regulations to develop tighter management, regulatory regimes and changes to technical and material requirements.
An increase in the number of high-rise developments and likely forthcoming changes to existing fire and building regulations means the nature of risk is changing in respect to emergency procedures and evacuation. In taller buildings, more careful planning, training and testing of emergency procedures is required to ensure the safety of every occupant – especially those with a disability or mobility impairment – as they are not designed for rapid, mass exit.
To be effective, evacuation procedures should be embedded into the culture of an organisation, communicated clearly to every occupant or visitor and accompanied by frequent training for relevant team members. This will ensure organisations are able to identify any new or evolving risks quickly and respond to them appropriately, safeguarding the wellbeing of every building occupant.