Ban on combustible cladding

It had consulted on whether changes were needed to current regulations, which, in the LGA’s view, lacked clarity on what materials could or could not be used on high-rise residential buildings.

Speaking at the Conservative Party Conference, Housing Secretary James Brokenshire said the shock of the “unimaginable horror” of the Grenfell Tower fire, which saw 72 people die, “underlined the need to do all that we can to see that such a disaster cannot happen again”.

The ban will cover all combustible material being used to clad new residential buildings, schools, hospitals, care homes, and student accommodation in England and Wales, with a small number of exemptions (primarily materials where no alternative is available that is rated as A2 or better).

It is expected to be implemented in building regulation changes, which will be brought forward as soon as possible. The ban will not be applied retroactively to high-rise buildings that have already been clad in this type of material. However, if the proposals in Dame Judith Hackitt’s report are implemented, building owners will have to satisfy regulators that their buildings are safe and the ban will inevitably influence the safety criteria on which this judgement will be founded.

The ban represents a significant victory for the LGA, which has consistently warned that there is increasing evidence that the BS8414 test – which tests the fire performance of external cladding and insulation systems – cannot be relied upon.

It had strongly urged the Government to ban the use of any combustible materials – including cladding panels, insulation and other materials – on the external walls of high-rise and high-risk buildings.

Lord Porter, LGA Chairman, said: “The tragedy that unfolded at Grenfell Tower must never be allowed to happen again and we must ensure that those who live, work and visit high-rise and high-risk buildings are safe.

“It is great that James Brokenshire has listened to our calls for a ban on the use of combustible materials on complex and high-rise buildings.”

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