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Ten implications of Technical Guidance Document M on Fire Safety Design in buildings. 

O’Herlihy Access Consultancy has been getting a number of recent queries relating to Fire Safety and understanding the impacts of Technical Guidance Document (TGD) M and Part M of the Building Regulations on Fire Safety and Safe Egress for All. 

Section 0.8 of TGD M identifies the importance of linking access to egress and states that “scope of Part M is limited to matters of access to and use of a building.  For guidance on means of escape or evacuation, reference should be made to Technical Guidance Document B (Fire Safety) and the NDA publication ‘Promoting Safe Egress and Evacuation of People with Disabilities”.
The following list provides 10 Ten implications of Technical Guidance Document M on Fire Safety Design in buildings. 


  1.  External circulation routes to assembly points: Section 1.1.2 of TGD M 2010: The circulation routes around a building include the routes from the building exits to assembly points or to the boundary of the site.  As a result, all routes from a building to an assembly point must be designed in accordance with section 1.1.3 of TGD M 2010.
  2.  External stepped access routes: Section (f) of TGD M 2010: Handrails should not protrude more than 100mm into the surface width of the access route where this would impinge on the stair width requirement of TGD B – Methods of Measurement.
  3.  Subsidiary external entrances:    Section 1.2.2 of TGD M 2010: Subsidiary external entrances that should also be accessible include building exits to assembly points or to the boundary of the site.
  4.  Internal doors in corridors: Section 1.2.2 of TGD M 2010: Corridors, passageways and internal lobbies should facilitate a free flow of people around a building.  Doors along internal circulation routes can create barriers for people, particularly for those with limited upper body strength, and should only be provided where necessary.  However, where they are necessary, for the purposes of compliance with Part B – Fire Safety, they should be easy to use and/or held open on electronic hold-open devices.
  5.  Outward opening doors in corridors: Section 1.2.2 of TGD M 2010:  Any door opening towards a corridor which is a major access route or an escape route should be recessed so that when fully open, it does not project into the corridor space except where the doors are minor utility facilities such as small store rooms and locked duct cupboards.  Rationale:  This is to avoid collisions with passers-by.
  6.  Doors in corridors: Section of TGD M 2010: Self-closing devices create particular difficulties for some people (refer to Section 1.2) and their use on internal doors should be minimised.  While these devices are generally required on fire doors, TGD B gives guidance on acceptable methods of holding them open, where a self–closing device is considered a hindrance to the normal use of a building. Refer to TGD B, Annex B, Fire Doors, Self-closing devices, B3 for guidance.  Fire doors should be held open in accordance with this guidance, where possible, in areas of the building frequently used by the public.
  7.  Lifts: Section of TGD M 2010 states that passenger lifts should be provided in all multi-storey buildings to serve all storeys above and below entry level e.g. basements used for car parking, etc. It continues to state that reference should be made to Part B and TGD B for guidance on fire related issues associated with lifts e.g. lifts to underground car parks, etc.  Refer to TGD B – General Provisions for means of escape.
  8.  Internal stairs: Section of TGD M 2010: At least one set of stairs suitable for ambulant disabled people should be provided to access all floors above or below entrance level in a building. Stairs serve many different functions in a building e.g. a means of escape, a means of access for ambulant disabled people or an effective, efficient and simple means of vertical circulation, or sometimes a combination of these. 
  9.  Fire alarms in accessible WCs: Section 1.4.4 (j) of TGD M 2010 states where accessible sanitary facilities are provided the fire alarm should emit a visual and audible signal.       Rationale:  To warn occupants with vision or hearing impairment;
  10. . Accessible sleeping accommodation: Section 1.5.6 (f) Where accessible sleeping accommodation is provided: it should have a visual fire alarm signal, in addition to the provisions for fire detection and alarm systems given in Part B/ TGD B  Note: a visual indicator should be provided within the accessible bedroom to alert an occupier with a hearing impairment that there is someone at the door

If you would like further information or need further assistance in relation to safe egress and evacuation for all please do not hesitate to contact one of our team on 01-4151285 or e-mail [email protected].