Following five years of consultation, in 2022 a new fire safety legislation was introduced in response to the 2017 Grenfell Tower tragedy. Amongst the new regulations were rules on wayfinding signage, which came into force in January 2023. If you are planning a new project or are involved in the retrofit of an existing building, it is crucial that you understand these requirements and ensure that any wayfinding signage is implemented correctly.
In the wake of the Grenfell Tower tragedy in 2017, a series of inquiries were launched to establish the cause of the fire, the building materials responsible for its rapid spread and why the rescue services struggled to save trapped residents.
Amongst other conclusions, Grenfell Tower Inquiry Phase 1 noted that the 24 storey block of flats had only one staircase with sporadic signage to indicate floor and flat numbers. This combined with poor visibility and sign design made it difficult for the emergency services to judge which floor they were on or to find the flat they were being directed to as quickly as possible. Another factor contributing to the tragic event was the result of refurbishment work in the tower. Wayfinding signage had not been updated and, as a result, some of the signs were incorrect, misleading the firefighters further.
As a result of the inquiry and its findings, the report recommended mandatory wayfinding signage should be introduced in specific circumstances.
What has changed?
The inquiry recommended (Recommendation 33.27) that all existing high-rise buildings – those with a roof height over 11 metres – be fitted with clear wayfinding signage that can be read in all conditions. These recommendations generated The Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022, Regulation 8, which legally mandates that all existing high-rise multiple occupancy buildings be equipped with wayfinding signage on the landings of all protected stairways, and every protected corridor or lobby that a firefighting lift opens into. This signage should also clearly identify each floor and the flat numbers found on that floor.
This comes into force alongside existing legislation, which already requires all new-build high-rise residential buildings to have the aforementioned wayfinding signage. However, it is advised that ‘responsible persons’ may wish to consider installing signage in all types of buildings – high-rise or otherwise – in order to protect residents.
In addition to specifying which buildings require signage, Regulation 8 of The Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022 also states that all signage should conform to paragraphs 15.14 – 15.16 of Approved Document B Volume 1. This document specifies the location, size, shape, visibility and height from the floor of any wayfinding signage in a building and should always be consulted when planning a project.
How we can help
Through careful consultation with a dedicated account manager, we can help our customers understand and implement the relevant regulation wayfinding signage. Furthermore, by managing and producing all our quality signs in house, we are able to tailor each product to the needs and preferences of the customer – producing the ideal custom signage for your next project.
In addition to this, because our catalogue of fire safety signage is compliant with IS07010, our customers can rest assured that our in-house experts can deliver all the necessary signage to satisfying The Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022.