UK Government announces plans to ban the use of combustible materials in external walls of high-rise buildings. What are the implications to the construction industry?
- December 11, 2018
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The Government have committed to review the banning the use of combustible materials following the publication of Dame Judith Hackitt’s final report into the Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety in May 2018.
The report illustrated areas of concern in relation to building regulations and fire safety, particularly regarding high rise and complex buildings; this did not include a ban of materials of limited combustibility. This issue sparked questions within the construction industry, and so the Government have subsequently proposed a ban on the use of materials that do not meet class A1 or A2 from use in external walls that are 18 meters or over. Most respondents to the consultation concluded that combustible materials in cladding systems should be banned.
But what does this mean to the construction industry, and how can we comply with this legislation?
The ban will apply to all new residential buildings above 18m in height; this includes dormitories in boarding schools, student accommodation, registered care homes and hospitals. In order to be defined as 18m, measurements are to be taken from the lowest ground level adjoining the outside of an external wall to the finished floor surface of the top occupied storey. The trigger height for all additional buildings is planned be analysed further during the technical review of Approved Document B.
The ban will also apply where works are being conducted, in line with the definition of building work in the Building Regulations, including changes of use and material alterations. This will furthermore limit materials to products achieving a European Classification Class A1 or A2-S1, when tested in accordance with BS EN 13501-1:2007& A1:2009. Having said this, some exemptions will be available in situations where such products do not exist or are not readily available.
The implementation of this legislation will provide increased reassurance and safety across the nations portfolio of high-rise buildings but may involve extensive additional works on existing and new developments, across the UK. If you are a landlords, occupiers or developer who is keen to understand how this will effect you and how you must respond in order to comply; please get in touch with CS2 Director, Alan Edge on 01604 603 030 or firstname.lastname@example.org