Two stairs for residential high-rises

Government guidance updated to include mandatory second staircase

New residential buildings over 18m high should contain two staircases, according to updated government guidance.

The government announced last year that it intended to set a threshold height of 18m, above which a second staircase should be provided in residential buildings. This has now been taken forward as a recommendation in updated guidance outlining amendments to Approved Document B, published on 29 March by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.

Under the guidance, interlocked stairs should be considered as a single escape route and are not an alternative means of escape. The recommendations will apply from 30 September 2026.

The new regulations on staircases are part of a wider package of measures to enhance building safety, introduced in the wake of the Grenfell Tower disaster in 2017. Lee Rowley, minister for housing, said: ’The change in guidance provides clarity for developers and ensures new and existing buildings provide safe and secure homes for all residents.’