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Government bans the use of combustible cladding

June 2018

Following the publication of the Hackitt Report, which was instigated after the Grenfell Tower disaster, The Secretary of State for Housing, James Brokenshire MP, has announced a ban on the use of combustible materials on the external walls of high-rise residential buildings.  Residential buildings above 18 metres will now not be able to use this cladding, and the Government believes the cladding on Grenfell Tower was unlawful under existing Building Regulations and should not have been used.  With the release of this consultation, the Government wants to ensure that there is no doubt about which materials can be used on high-rise residential buildings.

The consultation seeks views on the revision of building regulations looking to ban the use of combustible materials in the inner leaf, insulation and cladding that are used in external wall systems on residential high-rises.  The Government is legally required to consult on substantive changes to the buildings regulations before any change in the law.  This consultation will end on 14th August 2018.

Brokenshire, said: “The Grenfell Tower fire was an appalling tragedy and we must do everything we can to ensure a disaster like this never happens again.  I have listened carefully to concerns and I intend to ban the use of combustible materials on the external walls of high-rise residential buildings, subject to consultation.  The cladding believed to have been used on Grenfell Tower was unlawful under existing building regulations. It should not have been used. But I believe that the changes on which we are consulting will offer even greater certainty to concerned residents and to the construction industry.”

Dame Judith Hackitt’s report into fire safety and building regulations recommended a simpler but more robust approach to the construction and on-going management of high-rise residential buildings.  However, the Government has taken this recommendations further, committing to:

  • Banning or restricting the use of desktop studies from being used to assess the fire performance of cladding systems, unless separate consultation demonstrates that they can be safely used
  • Change the law to achieve meaningful and lasting reform of the regulatory system
  • Invite views on how the Government could implement major reform of the regulatory system in line with Dame Judith’s review
  • Clarify building regulations fire safety guidance (Approved Document B)

Source: UK Construction Online

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