I would like to say that I think that it is very important to learn lessons from history but the fact that the Building Regulations are now being upgraded to cater for the paranoid response to the events of September 11 (AJ 03.11.05) strikes me as being faintly ridiculous.
Reading your article on revised Part B, which says that an extra staircase needs to be included in a building to ensure that there is sufficient egress area should one of the staircases be out of action would be comical, if it wasn't so serious. This means adding an additional staircase to every building in case an airliner hits it.
What if the building is hit by an asteroid and two staircases are rendered useless? Maybe the next phase of the consultation will require more dummy staircases.
This is reminiscent of Topol's famous song If I Was A Rich Man, where he says that he would have one staircase 'going nowhere just for show'. Perhaps we should learn from the Second World War. When there was a real threat of attack, the Army camouflage unit devised inflatable decoy dirigibles in the shape of tanks, warships, etc, to draw the enemy fire to a location that would have little effect. I recommend that we campaign for 1,200mm-wide expendable inflatable staircases to be affixed to the outside of buildings over 30m high, to draw enemy fire and allow sufficient time to escape down the real stairs at the rear.
No handrail required.
Bryan Seward, Milton Keynes