Updated guidance for second staircases in new buildings 18m+ from September 2026.

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Today (29 March 2024), the government has updated its guidance calling for second staircases in all new tall residential buildings over 18 metres from 30th September 2026 – further enhancing the UK’s world-leading building safety standards.

The change in guidance adds to a package of recent fire safety measures and reforms including the Building Safety Act which ensure the safety of people in both new and existing tall buildings.

Existing tall buildings are also being considered as part of the Grenfell Tower Inquiry’s recommendations. The Home Office is currently considering responses to their consultation on personal emergency evacuation plans, to which a response will be published in due course. 

Lee Rowley, Minister for Housing, said: 

"The change in guidance to include two staircases for buildings over 18 metres provides clarity for developers and ensures both new and existing buildings provide safe and secure homes for all residents."
Following a public consultation, the government announced last year its intent to set a threshold height of 18 metres above which a second staircase should be provided in residential buildings – a change which reflects views of experts including the National Fire Chiefs Council and Royal Institute of British Architects.

This was followed in October by confirmation of transitional arrangements which set the timeframe for the new regulations and strike a fair balance between giving developers enough time to make the required changes, while also evolving our safety standards as swiftly as possible.

The transition period also provides clarity for developers during a difficult economic climate and projects previously held up at the planning stage can now go ahead with certainty.