Ban on unsafe metal cladding extended to all buildings

Aaron Morby 1 month ago
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The government has introduced tougher standards for external wall materials on residential buildings as part of a wider package of reforms.

The government previously announced a ban on the use of combustible materials in and on the external walls of new blocks of flats over 18m, in England – as well as hospitals and student accommodation.

This ban has now been extended to new hotels, hostels and boarding houses of this height.

Fresh changes to guidance on building regulations for fire safety in approved Document B will also ban Metal Composite Material panels with unmodified polyethylene core, known as MCM PE, on all new buildings at any height.

This follows research carried out by the government and evidence heard at the Grenfell Tower Inquiry on the serious fire safety risks associated with this material.

New statutory guidance will also be introduced to restrict the combustibility of materials used in and on the external walls of residential buildings, between 11-18m in height.

This will mean that lower-risk developments between 11-18m meet necessary safety standards – while also allowing designers and developers flexibility to use environmentally friendly materials.

It builds on a provision, that the government has already introduced, for sprinkler systems to be installed in new blocks of flats 11m and over, in England.

The move follows an extensive consultation and will ensure that residents of all blocks of flats are and feel safe in their homes.

Other updates to the regulations being put forward will:


  • Include elements of solar shading devices within the scope of the ban
  • Amend the list of materials exempt from the ban to include fibre optic cables and insulation materials 300mm from ground level
  • Update the requirement of the ban to refer to the latest version of the British Standard classification for materials used on high-rise residential buildings
  • Temporarily exempt cavity trays
  • Amend the requirements for material change of use in buildings.

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