The Building (Amendment) Regulations 2018 came into force on 21 December 2018 have now clarified the lack of clarity in relation to balconies and states:
“Amendment to the Building Regulations 2010”
(2) In regulations 2 (insert) after paragraph (5) insert “(6) In these Regulations
(a)Any reference to an “external wall” of a building includes a reference to
(i)Anything located within any space forming part of the wall;
(ii)Any decorations or other finish applied to any external wall (but not internal) surface forming part of the wall;
(b)Specified attachment means-
(i) a balcony attached to an external wall.
(ii) a device for reducing heat gain within a building by deflecting sunlight which is attached to an external wall; or
(iii) a solar panel attached to an external wall.
A The BRE Report dated July 2016 (prior to the issue of The Building (Amendment) Regulations 2018 states:
‘There is currently no specific guidance for balconies in Approved Document B (AD B), other than where balconies are designed as a means of escape. As such, requirements for fire safety with regards to balconies comes down to interpretations of the Building Regulations. Is a balcony part of the external all and thereby subject to the same requirements of the Building Regulations or it an external fixing?
Although The Building (Amendment) Regulations 2018 are not retrospective they do offer clarity as to the status of the balconies for new developments where the Building (Amendment) Regulations 2018 will apply.
There have been several incidents of balcony fires which have led to external fire spread. BRE Global published examples of this in their 2016 report “Fire safety issues with balconies” which can be accessed at:
“Fire Safety Issues with Balconies”
In 2019 there have been documented balcony fires:
Flats at Barkingside in June 2019
Flats at Harry Zeital Way in Clapton on 16 September 2019
Flats at Safflower Lane, Harold Wood on 21 September 2019
Part B4 of the Building Regulations 2010 states:
“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”.
So now that the Building (Amendment) Regulations 2018 have clarified that the balconies are referred to as part of the external wall, the materials of the balconies must also adequately resist the spread of fire 'over the walls'