Stricter new rules designed to strengthen fire testing for cladding systems on residential buildings were published for consultation yesterday (11 April) by Housing Secretary Sajid Javid
The consultation, which aims to improve building safety, will look at restricting or banning the use of ‘desktop studies’ as a way of assessing the fire performance of external cladding systems.
The revisions come directly as a result of the recommendations made by Dame Judith Hackitt in her interim report from the review into building regulations and fire safety published last year. The Government is also delving deeper by asking whether ‘desktop studies’ should be used at all.
The consultation is seeking views on whether ‘desktop studies’ are appropriate for all construction products, wall systems (cladding) or for any other purpose.
If ‘desktop studies’ are deemed appropriate, the proposed changes include improving the transparency of assessments, enabling appropriate scrutiny of results and ensuring that the studies can only be carried out by properly accredited bodies that have the relevant expertise.
Housing Secretary, Sajid Javid said: “We have listened carefully to Dame Judith Hackitt and we are taking action to strengthen building regulations guidance, which could mean that the use of ‘desktop studies’ are either significantly restricted or banned altogether.
“This demonstrates the tough measures we are prepared to take to make sure that cladding tests are as robust as possible and people are safe in their homes.”
These proposals are subject to a full consultation that will end on 25 May 2018.