Government to consult on banning combustible cladding

Aaron Morby 4 years ago
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New housing secretary James Brokenshire said the Government will now go to consultation on outlawing use of combustible cladding on high-rise tower blocks.

The announcement came as the minister welcomed the Hackitt Review saying it was already implementing many of the recommendations first set out several months ago in Dame Judith’s interim report.

But while the Hackitt Review seeks sweeping reforms to the industry’s regulatory systems with clearly defined responsibilities for clients, designers and contractors, she did not call for a ban on combustible cladding materials.

Her other key proposal was to put a stop to private building control and set up a new single building standards body, the Joint Competent Authority. This would be formed from Local Authority Building Standards, fire and rescue authorities and the Health and Safety Executive.

Brokenshire told Parliament: “The cladding believed to be on Grenfell Tower was unlawful under existing building regulations. It should not have been used.

“I will ensure that there is no room for doubt over what materials can be used safely in cladding of high rise residential buildings.

“Having listened carefully to concerns, the government will consult on banning the use of combustible materials in cladding systems on high-rise residential buildings.”

The decision comes amid growing pressure from MPs, architects, building firms and Grenfell survivors who had called for a ban on using combustible materials in construction.

The housing minister will report back to Parliament in July, but a full formal response to the consultation is unlikely before October.

He added the Government would lead fundamental reform of the regulatory system, with strong sanctions for those who fail to comply.

“We are consulting on significantly restricting or banning the use of “desktop studies” to assess cladding systems.

“Inappropriate use of desktop studies is unacceptable and I will not hesitate to ban them if the consultation – which closes on 25 May – does not demonstrate that they can be used safely.”

Government commitment to Hackitt Review

  • launching a consultation on banning the use of combustible materials in cladding systems on high-rise residential buildings
  • banning desktop studies if the current consultation – which closes on 25 May – does not demonstrate that they can be safely used
  • ensuring residents have a better mechanism for blowing the whistle on landlords who do not maintain safe buildings
  • changing the law to achieve meaningful and lasting reform of the building regulatory system, with strong sanctions for those who fail to comply
  • inviting views to inform how the government could implement major reform of the regulatory system
  • restructuring building regulations fire safety guidance to ensure it is clear

 

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