UK: Government publishes consultation on combustible cladding ban

James Brokenshire

The UK government has announced a consultation on banning the use of combustible materials on the external walls of high-rise residential buildings which are 18 metres or over.

The consultation, which will run until August 14, is inviting views on 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.

In the wake of the Grenfell Tower fie in June 2017, the government commissioned former Health & Safety Executive chair Dame Judith Hackitt to lead a review of building regulations, specifically exploring fire safety aspects in tall residential buildings. Following her comprehensive review of fire safety and building regulations, Hackitt recommended that a simpler but more robust approach to the construction and on-going management of high-rise residential buildings was needed.

The government, however, said it wants to ensure that there is no doubt about which materials can be used on high-rise residential buildings.

Announcing the consultation in Parliament, housing 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.

“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.”

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