Government moves a step closer to combustible cladding ban

Grenfell Tower

As regulations for the combustible cladding ban for new and high-rise buildings progress in government, insurers say that they do not go far enough.

Regulations surrounding the ban were laid out in Parliament yesterday. The ban on combustible materials will be brought into law, following the summer announcement.

This means combustible materials will not be permitted on the external walls of new buildings containing flats that are 18m tall or higher. Included in this are new hospitals, residential care premises, dormitories in boarding schools and student accommodation.

The government is currently funding the replacement of unsafe aluminium composite material cladding on social sector buildings above 18m.

Cladding similar to that used on Grenfell Tower will also be replaced. The government will work alongside local authorities including offering financial support if needed to carry out an emergency removal of unsafe cladding on private residential buildings.

Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP, secretary of state for communities said: “Everyone has a right to feel safe in their homes and I have repeatedly made clear that building owners and developers must replace dangerous ACM cladding. And the costs must not be passed on to leaseholders.

“My message is clear – private building owners must pay for this work now or they should expect to pay more later.”

However, insurers maintain that the ban will not go far enough.

An Association of British Insurers spokesman said: “While we welcome this ban being put into regulation, it does not go far enough. The ban needs to cover high-risk buildings, not just high-rise ones. There can be no half-measures when it comes to protecting lives from fire and making sure a tragedy like Grenfell never happens again.  

“We also still await the start of the root and branch review of Approved Document B - the guidelines to the fire regulations - which we have been calling for since 2009, as well as how the Government plans to implement in full the recommendations of the Hackitt Review to ensure a building control system that is fit for the future.”

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