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MPs call for extension of proposed cladding ban

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Proposals to ban flammable cladding on high-rise buildings does not go far enough, a committee of MPs has warned.

Following Dame Judith Hackitt’s recent review of building regulations in the wake of the Grenfell Tower fire disaster, Housing and communities secretary James Brokenshire told Parliament on 21 May that he was “minded to” ban the use of flammable cladding materials on tower blocks.

However, the Commons’ housing, communities and local government committee has said the ban should be extended to “existing buildings and residential homes, hospitals, student accommodation and hotels”.

Committee chair Clive Betts (Lab) said: “We are now more than a year on from the catastrophic events at Grenfell Tower, yet despite an independent review of building regulations, we are still no closer to having a system that inspires confidence that residents can be safe and secure in their homes.

“We agree with the independent review that there is a need for a fundamental change of culture in the construction industry, but there are also measures that can and should be introduced now.”

The report agreed with Dame Hackitt’s call for a “greater sense of personal responsibility and ownership of risk” in the construction industry.

It also backed calls for the simplification of building regulations and said fire safety should be addressed throughout the “life-cycle” of a building.

It added residents require ”a more meaningful voice to challenge fire-safety processes in their homes”.

The committe also called for:

  • The retrofit of sprinklers to all high-rise residential buildings, “where feasible”

  • Additional government funding to help retrofit sprinklers in council and housing association-owned buildings

  • a low-interest loan scheme for private sector building owners, which would help speed up remedial work and ensure that costs are not passed on to leaseholders.

Responding to the report, Local Government Association Chairman Lord Porter, said: “The tragedy that unfolded at Grenfell Tower must never be allowed to happen again and we must ensure that those who live, work and visit high-rise and high-risk buildings are safe.

“The evidence from real fires in real tower blocks shows that using combustible materials on the external walls of high-rise buildings kills people. We continue to strongly urge the government to ban the use of any combustible materials - including cladding panels, insulation and other materials - on the external walls of high-rise and high-risk buildings.”

 

 

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