Technical Standards for Marriages and Civil Partnerships (Approved Premises) Regulations

Please contact our District Surveyors Office for any specific queries you may have. (Contact Name: Tracy Wait 020 7332 3902).

1. STRUCTURAL SUITABILITY OF THE PREMISES
Building Regulations Approved Documents A1 and A2

2. ADEQUATE PRECAUTIONS AGAINST FIRE
Building Regulations Approved Documents B2 and B3
Any curtains, drapes or other textile hangings and any decorations shall be non-flammable

3. MEANS OF ESCAPE IN CASE OF FIRE
Building Regulations Approved Document B1 and British Standard 5588: Part 8The premises must be provided with adequate means of escape which would normally comprise the minimum of 2 exits (including main entrance).
The number of persons accommodated at any one time in the approved room shall not exceed the number specified on the approval document.
All doorways and any corridors, staircases or external passageways intended for exit purposes shall be kept entirely free from obstruction.
All exit doors shall be kept immediately available for use and those not fitted with panic bolts shall be kept unfastened with the fastenings rendered inoperable to the City of London’s satisfaction.
All floor coverings shall be so maintained that they will not be likely to ruck or to be in any way a source of danger.
Unless otherwise permitted by the City of London, seating shall be in the form of rows with no more than 14 seats in a continuous row where there is a gangway at each end and not more than 7 seats in a row where there is a gangway at one end only. Gangways shall be of adequate width for the number of seats served but shall in no case be less than 1 metre wide.
All gangways shall be kept free from obstruction.

4. EXIT SIGNS
Exits shall be clearly marked so that the occupants of the premises can readily see where the exits are and where to go in an emergency.
Exit signs shall comply with B.S. 5499: Part 4, and shall be fixed at a height not less than 2m above the floor.
Where an exit opens directly onto the street and is in normal use as an entrance, an exit sign may not be required.

5. ESCAPE LIGHTING
Escape lighting in accordance with B.S. 5266: Part 1 shall be provided within:
1. underground or windowless accommodation;
2. those parts of the premises used by members of the public;
3. external escape routes not provided with artificial street lighting.
An escape lighting battery certificate shall be submitted to the City of London by a qualified electrical contractor with experience of battery installations, or other persons with the necessary experience deemed competent by the City of London.
The certificate shall confirm that each escape lighting luminaire has been energised from the battery and installations are in full working order.

6. ARTIFICIAL LIGHTING
Adequate artificial lighting shall be provided in all parts of the premises and escape routes.
Switches for artificial lighting in external escape routes shall be marked EXTERNAL LIGHTING SWITCH in 5mm letters.
Any replacement of lighting installations shall be in accordance with Approved Document L2.

7. ELECTRICAL INSTALLATION
The electrical installation for the premises shall comply with British Standard 7671 unless otherwise agreed with the City of London. An inspection report shall be submitted to the City of London. The report shall confirm that the electrical installation is in a safe working condition, and shall be signed by a competent person, who shall be one of the following:
1. A corporate member of the Institution of Electrical Engineers
2. A contractor currently enrolled with the National Inspection Council for Electrical Installation Contracting or Electrical Contractors Association.
3. A suitably qualified representative of the Electricity Supply Authority.
Any replacement to lighting systems shall be in accordance with Approved Document L2.

8. FIRE FIGHTING APPLIANCES
Fire extinguishers in conformity with B.S. EN3-6: 1996 shall be installed in accordance with B.S. 5306: Part 3
Fire blankets shall be in accordance with B.S. 6575. Fire blankets shall be maintained in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.
An inspection and maintenance report in respect of all fire appliances at the premises shall be submitted to the City of London by a ‘Registered Firm’.
The British Approvals for Fire Equipment operates a scheme of registration of companies to carry out maintenance of fire extinguishers under contract. This scheme is run by the British Standards Institution (BSI Quality Assurance) through it’s ‘Registered Firms’ Scheme.

9. MEANS OF HEATING THE PREMISES
Building Regulations Approved Documents J1, J2, J3 and L2
Fixed electric heaters incorporating plastic panels in their construction, paraffin oil heaters, portable gas or electric heaters shall not be installed within escape routes or rooms and areas used by the public. Heating arrangements for the premises shall not present risk of fire or any hazard to the occupants.

10. VENTILATION FOR THE PREMISES
Building Regulations Approved Documents F1 and L2
Adequate ventilation shall be provided within the premises to maintain hygienic conditions and to facilitate the removal of smoke or fumes direct to the open air.

11. SANITARY FACILITIES
Building Regulations Approved Documents G1, G3 and H1

12. FACILITIES FOR THE DISABLED
Building Regulations Approved Document M and B.S. 5588: Part 8
Wherever possible, facilities should be provided for people with disabilities. If access is available, other facilities should be provided, as they would be for able-bodied people.
Whilst the City of London would not insist on full access being provided over and above the requirements in the Approved Document at the time of granting a new licence, the City of London would like to see the facilities being further increased by the time of the renewal of the licence.

ISSUES RELATING TO ACCESS FOR DISABLED PEOPLE

It is the strategic policy of the City of London Corporation to require accessibility throughout the City for everyone.  London Plan 2021 (Policy D5) and Local Plan 2015 (Policy DM 10.8) require “the highest standards of accessible and inclusive design” and the built environment should be “convenient and welcoming with no disabling barriers, ensuring that everyone can experience independence without undue effort, separation or special treatment”.

Under the Equality Act 2010 (Part 3 and Section 20), a service provider has a duty to take reasonable adjustments so that disabled people are not substantially disadvantaged compared to non-disabled people.  This can include changes to policies and procedures, provision of auxiliary aids and removal, alteration, or provision of reasonable means of avoiding physical features.

The City will therefore expect that all premises applying for approval to conduct marriages will have:

(i) at least one parking space reserved for disabled badge holders (where on-site parking is provided);

(ii) an accessible entrance into the property from the public footway and parking area;

(iii) an accessible route through the building to the room(s) where the marriage ceremonies are to be conducted and any associated function rooms;

(iv) wheelchair-accessible toilet facilities;

(v) a hearing induction loop or other hearing enhancement system in the marriage ceremony room;

(vi) suitable emergency evacuation arrangements for disabled people.

Other issues which will be considered include colour and visual contrast and lighting, plus staff training in disability awareness.