New Fire Safety Rules Extend Ban on Combustible Cladding

Highrise buildings at sunset - Ban on Combustible Cladding

MORE GOVERNMENT fire safety rules and building regulations have been introduced this month (1 June 2022) extending the ban on combustible cladding to accommodation over 18 metres in height.

The ban on combustible materials in and on the external walls of new blocks of flats over 18m, in England (as well as hospitals, student accommodation and dormitories in boarding schools) now applies to new hotels, hostels and boarding houses.

Ban on Combustible Cladding

Also banned are Metal Composite Material panels with unmodified polyethylene cores, known as MCM PE, on all new buildings at any height. This follows evidence heard at the Grenfell Tower Inquiry on the serious fire safety risks associated with this material.

The ban on combustible materials will also apply to residential buildings between 11-18m in height.

This will mean that lower risk developments between 11-18m meet necessary safety standards – while allowing designers and developers flexibility to use environmentally friendly materials, the government says.

Sprinkler systems are already required to be installed in new blocks of flats 11m and over, in England.

Other updates to the regulations being put forward will:

  • include elements of solar shading devices within the scope of the ban
  • amend the list of materials exempt from the ban to include fibre optic cables and insulation materials 300mm from ground level
  • update the requirement of the ban to refer to the latest version of the British Standard classification for materials used on high-rise residential buildings
  • temporarily exempt cavity trays
  • amend the requirements for material change of use in buildings

Building Regulations

This comes alongside the government’s ongoing work to ensure homebuilders have a clear, comprehensive regulatory framework for the design and development of safe buildings.

As part of this, an update on the government’s technical review of guidance on building regulations for fire safety – Approved Document B – and the evidence supporting it has been published.

All new residential buildings over 11m will now have to include a Secure Information Box that will give fire and rescue services access to important details about a building in the event of a fire.

New residential developments over 18m will also have to incorporate an Evacuation Alert System to help fire and rescue services inform residents of a change in evacuation strategy, during an incident.

Building and Fire Safety Minister Lord Greenhalgh
Building and Fire Safety Minister Lord Greenhalgh

Building and Fire Safety Minister Lord Greenhalgh said: “These changes will support our tough new regulatory regime – ensuring fire safety measures are incorporated into new high-rise homes and all new residential buildings meet the same safety standards.

“It does not end here and I urge the industry act quickly to update their practises in line with these new rules.”

See more information on Approved Document B.

See the government’s update on its ongoing work to review of the scientific evidence informing the guidance in Approved Document B. See more information on the government’s call for evidence on this review.

 

>> Read more about combustible cladding in the news.

 

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