Issue 39 October 2021 - Journal - Page 101
Do we now need an External Wall
by Bernadette Barker BA (Hons) Dip Arch RIBA MSc (Construction Law &
Arbitration) FCIArb DipICArb MIFireE
New roles within the construction industry are
constantly evolving perhaps in part to the recognition
of the increasing complexity and performance
requirements of buildings both in construction and
Approved Documents B Fire Safety 2019 edition
incorporating 2020 amendments -for use in England
under Appendix A now describes the external wall of
a building as:
‘The external wall of a building includes all of the following.
Anything located within any space forming part of the wall.
In recent years external walls have become ever more
complex and so has the legislation surrounding them
that perhaps we now need to introduce the new role
of an External Wall Coordinator?
Any decoration or other finish applied to an external (but not
internal) surface forming part of the wall.
Any windows and doors in the wall.
Any part of a roof pitched at an angle of more than 70° to the
horizontal if that part of the roof adjoins a space within the
building to which persons have access, but not access only for
the purposes of carrying out repairs or maintenance’.
Would the appointment of an External Wall Coordinator minimise the risk of errors in design and
construction of the external wall?
The suggestion of the appointment of an External
Wall Coordinator is not to detract from the role of the
architect but to support the architect and recognise
that external walls are becoming overly more complex
and the design and construction of them needs to be
carefully managed throughout the design and construction process.
For this article I will be talking about ‘built up’ walls,
and not traditional cavity brick walls.
A built-up wall is constructed in a series of separate
layers and there are numerous decisions to be made
by the design team.
You will generally have you will have a backing wall,
this could be block work, for example, or it could be
an SFS (Steel Framing System).
Until recently there was actually no interpretation of
an external wall under the Building Regulations.
EXPERT WITNESS JOURNAL
O C TO B E R 2 0 2 1