Last edited 19 Jun 2018

Consultation on banning the use of combustible materials in the external walls of high-rise residential buildings

On 18 June 2018, Housing Secretary James Brokenshire announced a consultation on banning the use of combustible materials on the external walls of residential buildings which are 18 metres or more tall. This is despite the fact that the Hackitt review of the building regulations and fire safety, final report did not recommend such a ban, and the cladding used on Grenfell Tower did not comply with the existing building regulations and so should not have been used.

The consultation is inviting views on proposals to revise the building regulations to ban the use of combustible materials in the inner leaf, insulation and cladding of the external walls of residential buildings which are 18 metres or more tall, and whether only materials in the top 2 European classes for fire performance should be allowed over the entire external wall system, with limited exemptions covering parts of the wall, such as paint, that do not present a significant risk.

The government repeated advice that the clearest ways of ensuring an external wall system resists external fire spread are either for all of the relevant elements of the wall to be Class A1 or Class A2, or to use an external wall system which can be shown to have passed a large-scale test conducted to BS8414. The government pointed out that whilst Dame Judith Hackitt did not propose an outright ban, she did suggest that using products which are non-combustible or of limited combustibility was the lower risk option rather than undergoing a full system test.

James Brokenshire said; ”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… I believe that the changes on which we are consulting will offer even greater certainty to concerned residents and to the construction industry.”

The consultation will end on 14 August 2018. Ref https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/banning-the-use-of-combustible-materials-in-the-external-walls-of-high-rise-residential-buildings

A separate consultation has been carried out into banning or restricting the use of desktop studies to assess the fire performance of cladding systems.

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