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PM says government ‘minded’ to bring in combustible cladding ban

Prime minister Theresa May has told MPs the government is likely to go beyond the recommendations of the Hackitt report on fire safety regulations and ban combustible cladding materials on high-rise buildings.

PM says government “minded” to bring in flammable cladding ban
James Gourley/REX/Shutterstock

Speaking to the House of Commons at prime minister’s questions on Wednesday, May said the government was “minded” to restrict combustible cladding.

“We are meeting our legal duties to consult on these proposals and we will not delay any necessary action,” she said.

The statement follows the widespread criticism of former Health and Safety Executive chair and EEF manufacturer’s organisation chair Judith Hackitt’s report on the fire safety regime, which stopped short of recommending a ban.

Hackitt’s review concluded that a new simplified model of fire regulation was needed, clarifying the fire prevention responsibilities of construction clients, designers, contractors and owners and for the creation of a new joint competent authority to oversee the fire safety regime.

She said that a ban on combustible cladding materials was not a solution to the problems of fire risk ownership in tall residential buildings. She told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “It is about more than simply issuing a ban on certain materials. Cladding is one issue; there are many other features and many other shortcuts out there that could result in other disasters in the future which we need to address as part of this. It needs a whole system change.”

But her failure to advocate a ban drew condemnation from organisations such as the Royal Institute of British Architects, which described the report as a “major missed opportunity”, criticising the restriction of its recommendations to buildings over 10 stories and its failure to push for mandatory sprinkler systems as well as a combustible cladding ban.

Immediately after the report, the housing secretary James Brokenshire announced that the government would consult on a ban on combustible insulation and cladding materials and the prime minister’s latest statement reinforces the likelihood of future restrictions on their use.

 

Comments

  • In these days of being very

    Permalink Submitted by Jeremy Rowland on 25 May 2018 - 02:52 pm

    In these days of being very conscious in terms of Health & Safety I find it inconceivable that a flammable product was ever permitted to be used in or on buildings in the first instance, this material presents a clear danger to life when used for insulation and should be more than banned it should be removed from any buildings on which it is still left regardless of cost.

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  • At the time the cladding work

    Permalink Submitted by Richard Hookham on 26 May 2018 - 04:38 pm

    At the time the cladding work was undertaken, there was clear evidence that the type of insulation used was unsuitable for high-rise buildings. Research and experience in other countries had high-lighted the fire risk and the material had been banned in several of them. That information was in the public domain and decision-makers in the UK should have been well aware of it. Despite what regulations might say (or not say) buildings must be fit for purpose. I can see no defensible reason for the corner-cutting that took place at Grenfell. Those individuals with any responsibility (technical or financial) in the process of specifying, approving, (inadequate) testing and installing the cladding should be brought to account, as soon as practicable.

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