Combustible cladding ban moves forward

Published:  30 November, 2018

Regulations were laid in Parliament yesterday which will give legal effect to the combustible materials ban announced in the summer.

The ban means combustible materials will not be permitted on the external walls of new buildings over 18 metres containing flats, as well as new hospitals, residential care premises, dormitories in boarding schools and student accommodation over 18 metres.

Among the announcements were amendments to the approved documents confirming what materials can be used on cladding systems and additional guidance for local councils to use their housing powers to enforce remediation on private building owners who are not making progress on removing unsafe Aluminium Composite Material cladding from their buildings.

Housing Secretary James Brokenshire also said that the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government will support local councils to carry out emergency work to remove and replace unsafe cladding.

This follows the Grenfell Tower fire last June (pictured) which killed 72 people. The building in Kensington was clad in highly-flammable insulation which helped the fire to spread. The government estimates that 470 buildings are clad in the same type of flammable cladding as Grenfell Tower.

The ban has been welcomed by the Local Government Association, which comprises local authorities in England and Wales.

Chairman Lord Porter praised the government for “acting swiftly” and making it clearer for building owners to know what they can use to replace dangerous cladding and insulation.

He added: “Some private landlords have shown a lack of urgency to identify which buildings have cladding and insulation systems that have failed fire safety tests and take steps to make them safe.

“The measures announced today will therefore help councils take the steps necessary to ensure all residents in their local area are safe and feel safe in their homes, regardless of whether they own the block or not, and to ensure that a tragedy like that at Grenfell never happens again.”

Paul Everall is Chief Executive of Local Authority Building Control, which promotes and supports compliance with building regulations. He said LABC supports professionals and building owners to deliver fire safety strategies and safer buildings.

He said: “Owners of private residential blocks needing remediation work now have the clarity they need on the use of non-combustible systems and products to get on with the job.

“Our colleagues in local authority housing teams will have additional powers and resources to deal with those private building owners who aren’t moving fast enough on necessary remediation work.”

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