HSE Tackle Fire Safety during Removal and Replacement of Cladding

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is starting a series of inspections on sites which are removing and replacing Aluminium Composite Material (ACM) cladding on tall buildings.

The focus of these visits will be on fire safety, though other matters of concern found will also be dealt with.

HSE has produced sector technical notes for its inspectors in its operational guidance on ‘Managing fire risk during cladding and insulation removal and replacement on tall buildings, that are also useful for clients, managing agents, designers and contractors involved in planning, procuring and undertaking this type of construction work.

The document also outlines the responsibilities of duty holders and includes a hand-out leaflet that can be given to site managers.

Recladding tall buildings are significant refurbishment projects and likely to be notifiable to HSE by F10. HSE will prepare a separate intervention plan for undertaking any work required on high-rises. This will be based on information from the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government (MHCLG) that sets out where buildings are and high risk factors that are present, including:

  • Towers above 18m (6 storeys)
  • Where insulation is not the lower-risk mineral wool
  • Where there is only a single means of escape for occupants
  • Where no sprinklers are installed

The HSE notes state, “Sector will check for F10 notifications and compare those against the MHCLG list to identify potentially higher risk towers. This information will then be fed to those identified within the intervention strategy to undertake visits.

“There may be similar recladding works to lower height buildings or to those that are privately owned and for which no information is available on risk factors.

“The aim of the work is to ensure that the project has been properly planned, resourced and executed by client, designers and contractors. A master case will be used to link the inspections and monitor contacts. Once a number of inspections have been undertaken we will then be able to target any poor performers.”

View the HSE operational guidelines report here.

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