Combustible cladding to be banned on high-rise buildings

Published:  02 October, 2018

The government has banned combustible cladding on buildings over 18m tall, following the Grenfell Tower disaster.

Flammable cladding was believed to have assisted the fire in spreading up the tower at a rapid rate in the incident last June which claimed the lives of 72 people.

The Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety carried out by Dame Judith Hackitt, had originally failed to recommend a ban on flammable cladding.

This was met with criticism from the Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee, which said in a July report that it “did not go far enough”.

And now, a statement on the government’s website has stated that it has gone against Hackitt’s recommendation and would ban combustible materials on “all high-rise buildings that contains flats, as well as hospitals, residential care premises and student accommodation above 18m.”

It continued: “This ban will be delivered through changes to building regulations guidance and will limit materials available to products achieving a European classification of Class A1 or A2.”

Plastic, wood and products that include combustible materials such as aluminium composite panels will be included.

According to The Metro newspaper, the fact that the ban only applies to buildings over 18m tall disappointed London Mayor Sadiq Khan, who said: “Either this cladding material is a fire risk that endangers lives or it isn’t. I see no reasons for it to be used on any buildings at all.”

Ahmed Elgwahry, who lost his mother and sister in the fire and leads Grenfell United, the survivors’ and bereaved campaign group, welcomed the news.

According to The Times, he said: “This ban will save lives. We’ve fought so hard for it because we want a positive legacy from this tragedy.

“Grenfell United have been campaigning for 15 months for changes to building safety in this country. Finally, we’ve got the first signal we are being heard.”

However, Kingspan, which manufactured a small amount of the insulation that was used on Grenfell Tower, has spoken out against the ban. According to Sky News, Tony Ryan, Head of Fire Engineering Services, said at a London conference in June that he was concerned the ban would lead to people being unable to afford to insulate their homes.

He said that he believed the cost of the ban would be “considerable” and would lead to “legal cases for people living and working in non-compliant buildings”.

Sign Up

For the Builders' Merchants News enewsletter.

In the spotlight

We have vacancies all over the UK for those who work within the Building Supplies sector.