UKAA responds to government consultation on staircases in residential buildings

The UKAA has responded to a DLUHC consultation relating to a proposed maximum threshold for single staircases in residential buildings, supporting the use of two staircases in build to rent developments of over 30m in height.

The response was compiled and submitted on behalf of the UKAA by James Pargeter, Global Apartment Advisers and Cyrille West, Eversheds-Sutherland.  Our thanks go to them for their considerable efforts.

The response highlighted:

  • BTR developers and investors always want to do the right thing with a long-term view, and UKAA members have inherent incentives to ensure that best practice measures are incorporated into new buildings, and these frequently go beyond the strict regulation compliance observed by ‘for sale’ and other developers.
  • UKAA recognise that a benchmark needs to be set and we agree that 30m is a sensible threshold to adopt. It is possible that our members may take an even more conservative approach in some cases and opt for using two more staircases in buildings less tall, depending upon context. It is also worth noting that the GLA is already applying the 30m threshold in London.
  • UKAA members advocate the use of the most up-to-date fire protection measures. Additionally, our members seek to employ the prevailing best practice in terms of alarm systems, fire separation and compartmentalization arrangements, robust smoke separation including ventilation as appropriate, signage and wayfinding, emergency lighting etc.
  • There are potential problems with some inner-city constrained sites which may no longer be viable, due to the area which might be taken up by the extra staircase. That said, the likely outcome is that these types of development sites will change to ensure that developments remain viable.
  • These problems are likely to challenge scheme viability in many cases. As acknowledged in the consultation guidance, this could have an effect on the amount of affordable housing that can be provided in such cases, although this is only one of several mitigation strategies that could be necessary.


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