Firefighters question cladding ban 18m rule

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  1. There is the simple approach that the insurance companies refuse to insure any building that has flammable cladding, along with anything else that poses a severe risk to life safety (whether in the Building Regulations or not).

    That will quickly concentrate minds in the construction industry, and stop the merry go round of no one being responsible for seemingly anything as long as they can make it someone else’s problem.

  2. Is there a BS etc definition of what is deemed ‘combustible’ in this instance? What are the tolerances / specs of something that is deemed combustible to something that isn’t?

  3. The Fire Brigades Union. That would be a political organisation, then, charged with representing the interests of its members in matters of collective bargaining with employers.

    Once again, uncritical journalism endorses the latest in a long and inglorious history of disingenuous mission creep in which trades unions seek to strengthen their negotiating credentials by reinventing themselves for political ends as disinterested third-parties whose only interest is the safety of the public.

  4. What nonsense.
    A ban on flammable cladding above certain heights and for specific use buildings is a good idea, but should sustainable materials, such as timber cladding, be banned from all buildings?
    I wonder what lobbying interest groups are behind this idea apart from the fire service and insurance companies?
    Future proofing the built environment…what does that mean please?
    Non combustible entire external structure…so no more timber framed construction? Ban timber windows and doors? Really?
    Insurance companies should refuse to insure existing buildings not built to a fire risk free standard?
    If a ban on combustible materials is implemented it will devalue thousands of buildings and massively increase insurance premiums at a stroke, or leave buildings uninsurable, for no good reason. It will devastate the timber industry for no purpose other than trying to remove risk. People are the biggest risk factor and the cause of most damage and loss of life. Education would be a more effective and reasonable solution rather than an outright ban on sustainable products and materials.
    Let’s hear from the design and sustainable development fraternities on this one. A whole lot more discussion and consultation is needed before making any decisions that we may regret.

  5. An 18 metre tall building, residential or commercial, is between 5 to 7 storeys, certainly not a 3 storey walk up. The risk of fire due to combustible cladding materials appears to me to be just as dangerous at 18 metres as a high rise building. Whilst the height is always relevant, the use of the building and mobility of its occupants to escape via dedicated fire staircases is far more relevant. E.g. a multi storey aged persons home, hospital or similar type of building cannot be evacuated quickly by its own occupants. If the insurance companies refuse as a group to insure buildings with combustible cladding, the 18 metre height becomes irrelevant irrespective of what the new building regulations state. It appears to me that the Fire Brigades are absolutely correct if the cladding is combustible. Of course that leaves the 500 existing buildings with combustible cladding which is an economic nightmare for the Government and many of its occupants.

  6. Re. Paragraph seven, Quote “The Government must fund a National Independant Programme of research into Building Materials and a Government run Testing Regime for Materials.” Unquote.
    Surely this is what the BRE (Building Research Establishment) exists for, but perhaps it has never been expanded or upgraded over the years in line with progress, and is now outdated and in need of taking into the 21st Century.

    Also Charles comment is very true, Insurance Companies could easily “Police” the Standards by refusing cover where appropriate.

  7. Ill informed decisions are always dangerous. Before instant fixes are introduced can anyone confirm that the specification met the existing requirements of the Building Regulation/Approved Documents, that construction was in accord with both regulations and the specification, and was certified as such on completion.

    As I have been retired for several years, after 40 years in construction, I have no vested interest or axe to grind.

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