Consultation alert: Transition away from BS 476 in Approved Document B

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The Government is proposing in their next update to Approved Document B to remove remaining references to all aspects of the BS 476 series – the national classification standard for reaction to fire and fire resistance in Approved Document B.

Timber Development UK (TDUK) is concerned that a 12-month transition period will not give enough time for timber products, particularly Fire Doors, to be able to make the arrangements to change over to the equivalent European Classification.

This is because while there is a large body of evidence and decades of use supporting the use of timber products like fire doors, there is limited testing available in the UK market to support a transition within the timeframe proposed by the Government.

If sufficient time and resources are not allowed for to make the transition from the BS 476 to the European Classification, this will lead to the potential withdrawal of many safe products from the market, damaging the prospects of UK consumers.

TDUK is working on a response to the consultation with industry partners, including the British Woodworking Federation and the Wood Protection Association. With a 17 March 2023 closing date, TDUK wants to hear from members how the proposed changes would affect their business.

Please respond to the below survey and let us know how you would like us to respond to this consultation, along with supporting evidence. TDUK will be releasing this proposed response along with a template to support the industry to reply to this important consultation.




What is Approved Document B?

Approved Document B addresses fire safety precautions which must be adhered to, to ensure the safety of occupants, firefighters and those close to the building in the event of a fire.

The document covers all standards related to this, including means of escape, the ability to internally isolate a blaze to prevent a fire from spreading, external fire spread, firefighter access to the building and facilities, fire detection and warning systems in place within a building.

What is the background of this proposal?

During the Grenfell Tower Inquiry, the use of the national classification standards for reaction to fire and fire resistance in Approved Document B came under scrutiny, and potential flaws in its use were identified. The criticism focused on the BS 476 series, known as the national classes, for reaction to fire and fire resistance.

In response, the department removed reference to the national classifications from the main body of Approved Document B in 2019, and it is now only included within the annex. In the next update to Approved Document B the department plans to remove the remaining reference to all aspects of the BS 476 series.

How has TDUK previously responded?

Building safety is an issue TDUK, alongside our partners at the CTI, has been working on for several years.

We have provided lengthy responses to government consultations, most notably, on the proposal to ban combustible materials down to 11 metres. Read more on this here: