The government has published long-awaited technical guidance on its second staircase rule after months of uncertainty. The Mayor of London said last month work on 38,000 homes has been halted due to uncertainty caused by the lack of technical guidance. Research commissioned by the government found that when there is a second staircase in a high rise block, the evacuation time is halved. Published on Good Friday, changes to Approved Document B – the government’s building guidance covering fire safety – make clear that a second staircase is required in tall blocks of flats over 18 metres in height. It also confirmed that evacuation lifts will not be a requirement and introduced a transition period for the rules up to 30 September 2026. Full details on the design and construction of second staircases can be found here.

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