MHCLG has published Approved Document B 2018 edition on the 18th December, albeit these are amendments and the actual revised Approved Documents are still awaited. The guidance was published on 18 December 2018 and came into effect on 21st January 2019.
Assessment in lieu of tests
Approved Document B
This replaces the advice issued by the government in the circular letter dated 10 September 2018.
The guidance in appendix B and paragraph 1 to 5 of appendix A of Approved Document B Volume 1 and 2 has been amended to ensure that assessments in lieu of tests are only used where necessary and are carried out in an appropriate way. The guidance clarifies that an assessment in lieu of test should not be regarded as a way to avoid undertaking a test where one is necessary and should only be carried out where sufficient, relevant test evidence is available.
It is important to recognise that Residential Blocks over 18m, including Rooms for residential purposes are to remain atleast as Materials of Limited Combustibility only as previously announced and that these provisions will be for other uses at Buildings over 18M, for example Hotels.
The revised approved document recommends that an assessment in lieu of test is carried out in accordance with the appropriate extended application standard for the test in question where one is available or BS EN 15725:2010 when there is no specific standard.
Tests and assessments should be carried out by organisations with the necessary expertise, for example, organisations listed as “notified bodies” in accordance with the European Construction Products Regulation or laboratories accredited by UKAS for the relevant test standard.
The amended guidance came into force on 21 January 2019, with a transitional period of two months for applications submitted on that date or already submitted. After that date the new guidance must be followed.
Commencement of work
In some cases, applications will be in respect of a number of buildings on a site, for example a number of houses. In such cases it is the commencement of work on the first of the buildings within the application which determines whether all the building work can take advantage of the transitional provisions, not each individual building.
The December 2018 updated edition of Approved Documents B is available HERE.
(Please NOTE this link is the existing Approved Document B with the November & December Amendment attachments, there is not an updated Approved Document yet published).