New building regulations ban combustible cladding

14th December 2018

Eighteen months after 72 people lost their lives in the Grenfell Tower fire, combustible cladding has been banned from use in all new high-rise residential buildings.
Partner Rachel Gwilliam explains what the changes to legislation mean for the construction industry.

The Government first announced its intention to ban the use of combustible cladding on high-rise buildings in the summer of 2018. The introduction of the Building (Amendment) Regulations 2018 (S.I. 2018/ 1230) makes good that commitment.

New regulation 7(2) of the Building Regulations 2010 applies to any building with a storey at least 18m above ground level and which contains:

  • one or more dwellings; or
  • an institution; or
  • a room for residential purposes (excluding any room in a hostel, hotel or a boarding house).

This includes residential blocks of flats, student accommodation, care homes, sheltered housing, hospitals and dormitories in boarding schools with a storey above 18 m in height.

Regulation 7(2) requires that all materials (other than those specifically exempted under regulation 7(3)) that become part of an external wall or “specified attachment” (namely balconies, solar panels or devices for reducing heat gain attached to an external wall) achieve European Class A2-s1, d0 or Class A1.

Regulation 7(3) excludes various components from this requirement, including door frames and doors, membranes, seals and gaskets, window frames and glass and electrical installations.

Additionally, if an existing building is over 18 metres in height and is being changed to become residential or institutional accommodation then any material which does not achieve the required European classifications will need to be removed and replaced.

The Regulations come into force on 21 December 2018, but will not apply in any case where:

  • a building notice or an initial notice has been given to a local authority; or
  • full plans have been deposited with a local authority before 21 December 2018,
  • provided that the relevant building work:
  • has started before 21 December 2018; or
  • is started within 2 months of the date on which the Regulations come into force.

Whilst the Regulations are expressed to “extend to England and Wales“, regulation 1(3) provides that the Regulations “do not apply to any building in Wales”  – since 31 December 2011, power to make Building Regulations relating to Wales has been devolved to the Welsh Government. We anticipate that the Welsh Government will implement a similar amendment to the Building Regulations applicable in Wales in due course.

Further information on the Building (Amendment) Regulations 2018 can be found here; The Building (Amendment) Regulations 2018.

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