Brokenshire publishes consultation on banning combustible materials

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The ban on combustible materials on the external walls of high-rise residential buildings which are 18 metres takes a step forwards as Housing Secretary, James Brokenshire, publishes a consultation

The consultation was announced in Parliament by the Housing Secretary, James Brokenshire MP.

The cladding believed to have been used on Grenfell Tower was unlawful under existing building regulations and should not have been used. The government wants to ensure that there is no doubt about which materials can be used on high-rise residential buildings.

This consultation is inviting views on Government 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.

Residents, industry and other interested parties will now be able to have their say on proposals affecting the safety of homes. The government is legally required to consult on substantive changes to the buildings regulations before any change in the law and this consultation will end on 14 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.”

Following her comprehensive review of fire safety and building regulations, Dame Judith 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 welcomed Dame Judith’s report and went even further than her recommendations, committing to:

  • banning or restricting the use of desktop studies from being used to assess the fire performance of cladding systems, unless our separate consultation demonstrates that they can be safely used; the consultation has closed and we are reviewing responses
  • change the law to achieve meaningful and lasting reform of the regulatory system, with strong sanctions for those who fail to comply
  • 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).

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