Government Announcement on Cladding Ban

4th October 2018

On the 1st October the Housing Secretary, James Brokenshire, announced that there would be a ban on the use of combustible materials on external walls of residential buildings, hospitals, schools and student accommodation that are above the height of 18m.

The ban is only for new buildings and specifically targets the construction industry to ensure that this type of cladding is not utilised going forward and that only cladding with a European Classification of A1 or A2 is used during construction. The ban, however, does not require property owners to retrospectively remove combustible cladding on any buildings, regardless of their occupancy.

Some parties, including the Fire Brigades Union (FBU), have identified their concerns that the new ban does not go far enough, with them calling for the total ban of the use of combustible cladding in all types of buildings going forward and then the requirement for retrospective removal of combustible cladding on buildings.

Whilst the government have allocated £400m to the removal of combustible cladding from council-run residential blocks, there is no allocation of funds for the removal of similar cladding from privately owned properties. For these properties, the government have requested that landlords provide key information to the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government (formerly DCLG) and that they review the controls that are in place to mitigate risk as much as possible. This highlights the requirement for owners and investors to have an understanding about the types of cladding that they have on their buildings, particularly were this stance on the retrospective removal of cladding to change.

It is likely that the government will use this as a catalyst to review and amend the Building Regulations, which have come under significant scrutiny following on from the Grenfell disaster. There is no indication of when this widescale review will be complete or the exact date for when the ban on cladding on the specific building types will be enforced from. There is also some ambiguity as to how this will apply to buildings that are mid-construction, as there was no clear announcement on this other than to say that it would apply to buildings where cladding had not yet been installed.

The S2 Partnership has a dedicated team of fire safety experts, providing fire risk assessments, training, guidance, fire engineering and fire safety management systems to a range of organisations to meet legal obligations. The S2 Partnership works with clients to develop robust fire safety solutions, providing just the right support to each individual business to protect lives, buildings and businesses.

The S2 Partnership offers a flexible service to clients who need support to their existing competent person role, or indeed who need somebody to perform the role.

Fire specialists at the S2 Partnership undertake risk assessments and audits on behalf of property owners and managers to ensure that tenants are operating to good standards of fire safety and are not posing a fire risk to the rest of the building or its occupants.

The S2 Partnership also carries out fire evacuation drills and training for fire wardens and marshals to ensure clients are prepared for emergencies.

For further advice or guidance, please contact our specialist fire safety team.