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UK Government Announces Cladding Ban

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

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Government officials in the United Kingdom officially announced earlier this week a ban on combustible materials in the exterior walls of new residential buildings that are 18 meters and taller. The ban does not apply to existing buildings.

The new legislation, which includes homes, care homes, student accommodation and hospitals, was announced on Monday by Housing Secretary James Brokenshire.

ChiralJon, CC-SA-BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Government officials in the United Kingdom officially announced earlier this week a ban on combustible materials in the exterior walls of new residential buildings that are 18 meters and taller. The ban does not apply to existing buildings.

The Ministry for Housing Communities and Local Government confirmed that this limits the use of materials to product achieving a European fire-resistance classification of Class A1 or A2, but some, including the Royal Institute of British Architects, say that’s not good enough.

The Ban

Class A2 includes materials, such as plasterboard, which have “limited combustibility” and are prone to toxic smoke production. RIBA and the London Fire Brigade Union argue that to let these materials remain in new construction is inadequate.

“Toxic smoke inhalation from the burning cladding very likely contributed to the disproportionately high loss of life at the Grenfell Tower disaster,” Adrian Dobson, RIBA’s director of professional services, told the Architects Journal.

“Permitting all products classified as A2 does not place any limits on toxic smoke production and flaming particles/droplets.”

The FBU is openly calling for a ban that would only allow A1 materials, such as metal, stone and glass, to be used on new construction of any kind, not just the 18-meter residential parameters currently outlined.

Others, though, say that it’s simply a step in the right direction as a response to London’s Grenfell Tower fire, which killed more than 70 people last June.

“This ban will save lives,” Ahmed Elgwahry, who has led the campaign by the bereaved and survivors for a change to the rules, told The Guardian.

“Everyone who watched the tower burn that night knows the catastrophic consequences of these combustible materials. They should never have been on Grenfell. It is heartbreakingly too late for our families but we are one step closer to making sure other families across the country can go to bed at night safe in their homes.”

   

Tagged categories: Cladding; Government; Laws and litigation; Regulations

Comment from Andrew Piedl, (10/3/2018, 12:03 PM)

Based on this article, it sounds as though the ban does not apply to existing buildings, and would not necessarily apply to the type of retrofitted plastic core wall cladding and plastic based insulation that was installed on the existing Grenfell Tower. It also sounds as if new buildings greater than 18 meters would not be allowed to use any type of plastic (combustible) material - would that include all plastic based insulation products? .


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