Brokenshire to investigate cladding despite Hackitt’s verdict

Published:  21 May, 2018

Housing secretary James Brokenshire has stated that the government will consult on banning combustible cladding on high-rise residential buildings.

Dame Judith Hackitt’s review into building regulations had concluded that there was no need for a mandatory requirement for sprinklers to be fitted or a ban on flammable cladding, which helped the fire to spread at Grenfell Tower. However, Brokenshire has said: “Having listened carefully to concerns, the government will consult on banning the use of combustible materials in cladding systems on high-rise residential buildings.”

Hackitt’s review was also met with criticism from the Royal Institute of British Architects. Chairwoman Jane Duncan said: “The RIBA welcomes Dame Judith Hackitt’s review, but we believe it must be more comprehensive, addressing the details of Building Regulations guidance as well as the broader regulatory system. The review should cover all building types and construction methods, not just those relating to high-rise, multiple occupancy residential buildings.”

RIBA also proposed a number of recommendations to the review, which included: ‘introduction of a Building Regulations requirement for central fire alarm systems, with phased/staged capabilities, in multiple occupancy residential buildings’; ‘introduction of requirements for sprinklers/automatic fire suppression systems in all new and converted residential buildings’; ‘introduction of a requirement for more than one means of vertical escape from new multiple occupancy residential buildings of more than three storeys in height’; and ‘external walls of buildings over 18m in height to be constructed of non-combustible (European class A1) materials only’.

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