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19.06.18

Combustible cladding to be banned in high-rises

James Brokenshire has finally revealed plans to ban the use of combustible cladding on high-rise residential buildings.

A consultation on banning the use of combustible materials on the walls of high-rise residential buildings over 18 metres tall was published yesterday.

It is believed that the cladding used on Grenfell Tower, which a fire tragically ripped through, killing 72 people, was unlawful under existing building regulations and should not have been used at all.

The government has said that it wants to ensure that there is no doubt as to which materials can be used on high-rise residential buildings in the future.

The consultation is inviting views on the government’s proposals to revise the building regulations to ban the use of combustible materials in the inner leaf, insulation and cladding that are used in external wall systems on these buildings.

Legally, the government is required to consult on substantive changes to the building regulations before any change in the law, so residents, industry and other interested parties will be able to have their say on proposals affecting the safety of homes.

Housing, communities and local government secretary James 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.”

Following a comprehensive review of fire safety and building regulations, Dame Judith Hackitt recommended a simpler, more robust approach to the construction and ongoing management of high-rise residential buildings be developed, but stopped short of recommending a complete ban on combustible cladding.

The government has committed to go beyond Dame Hackitt’s recommendations, with a ban or restriction on the use of desktop studies to assess the fire performance of cladding systems unless a separate consultation can demonstrate that they can be safely used.

There will also be a change in the law to achieve meaningful and lasting reform to the regulatory system, with strong sanctions for those whom fail to comply.

The consultation will end on 14 August 2018.

Top image: Victoria Jones PA Wire

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