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Committee calls for immediate ban on combustible materials

17 May 2018

Clive Betts MP, Chair of the Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee, has welcomed the announcement of a consultation on banning the use of combustible materials in the cladding on high rise buildings but called on the Government to go further by implementing an immediate ban.

Consultation

The Government announced the consultation today after the publication of the final report of the Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety. Following a session this afternoon with Chair of the Review Dame Judith Hackitt, the Committee has now written to Secretary of State James Brokenshire, highlighting its opposition to Dame Judith's decision to focus on a ‘light-touch outcomes-based' approach to building regulations and welcoming the Government's rejection of the Review's approach to prescription.

Rejection of Dame Judith's approach

"We need to have some prescription in our building regulations, not least with regard to the use of combustible materials," the letter says. "We are therefore fully supportive of your decision to reject Dame Judith's approach to prescription, and welcome the announcement of a consultation into banning the use of combustible materials. However, we do believe that there is a strong argument for proceeding immediately with such a ban so residents can be reassured that the cladding used on their homes is safe."

Highlighting the Committee's opposition to Dame Judith's 'light-touch outcomes-based approach', the letter adds: "It is so important that we learn the lessons of the Grenfell Tower fire. It cannot be right to place so much trust in the professional competence of a construction industry in which too many people have been inclined to take shortcuts and cut costs at the expense of the safety of residents."

The Chair first wrote to the Secretary of State on 30 April to press the Committee's view that the use of combustible materials in the cladding of high-rise buildings should be banned altogether as opposed to favouring a risk-based approach to building regulations and guidance. The letter also called for a ban on the use of desktop studies.

The Committee has also previously written to Dame Judith on the issue of building regulations.

The review

The Review was established by the Government in August last year following the Grenfell Tower fire in June in which 71 people died. It was set up to examine the building and fire safety regulatory system, with a focus on high-rise residential buildings.

Further information

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