BS 9991. Fire Safety in the Design, Management and Use of Residential Buildings. Code of Practice


BSI have issued this draft code of practice for comment. It supersedes BS 9991:2015, which is withdrawn.

This is a full revision of the standard, and introduces the following principal changes:

  • Expansion of scope to cover residential care.

  • Revision of height limits for installation of sprinklers.

  • Removal of national classifications for combustibility.

  • Updating of recommendations relating to lifts, including expanded recommendations for evacuation lifts.

  • Updating of recommendations relating to smoke control, including changing Annex A from an informative to a normative annex.

  • Updating of recommendations relating to power supplies, external wall systems, kitchens, balconies, single-stair buildings and escape from basements.

  • General update to take into account new and revised standards published since 2015.

The recommendations and guidance given in this British Standard are based on the assumption that under normal circumstances (ie except in the case of arson) a fire is unlikely to start in two different places in a building.

All fire safety measures, procedures, etc. need to take into account the particular circumstances of the individual building or complex concerned. The same recommendations generally apply to both existing and new buildings, but existing buildings, especially historic buildings, often pose problems which are unlikely to arise in new buildings. In assessing the fire safety management needs of an existing building which is being modified, the documents stresses that it is essential to have a full understanding of the existing structure and any fire safety provisions incorporated, and to take into account all of the following:

  • Any change in use of the premises which could affect the fire risk profile (e.g. increased fire load and process risks, changes to sleeping risk, seasonal changes).

  • How the necessary fire safety levels can be practicably achieved in the existing premises and whether they are appropriate.

  • Historic and environmental aspects of the premises and to what extent they need to be disturbed.

  • Legislation and guidance introduced since the premises were originally constructed, or last altered, or since their fire safety was last assessed.

  • The interrelationship between life safety and measures to protect property/contents.

  • Business continuity.

This draft code of practice is not valid after 6 October 2021. Comments on the draft are invited. The document is available here.


BSI August 2021

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