Ban on Grenfell-style cladding ‘does not go far enough’

18 Jul 18

Proposals to ban Grenfell-style combustible cladding on high-rise blocks do not go far enough and must be extended to other buildings, say MPs.

The Housing, Communities and Local Government committee has urged the government to extend a consultation over a cladding ban it launched following the Grenfell Tower fire.

The consultation was announced in May by housing secretary James Brokenshire, after an independent review failed to suggest a ban.

The committee said the consultation should not only apply to new high-rise residential buildings but also existing high-rise buildings, student accommodation, hotels and residential homes.

Another recommendation is that council and housing association residential blocks should be retro-fitted with sprinklers to provide an “extra layer of safety”.

Clive Betts, chair of the HCLG committee, said: “We welcome the intention of the government to ban combustible cladding, but the proposals do not go far enough.

“A ban on dangerous cladding must be extended beyond new high-rise constructions to existing residential buildings as well as other high-risk buildings.”

The Hackitt review, which did not recommend a ban on dangerous cladding, called instead for a culture change within the construction industry – a view echoed in the committee’s report published today.

Betts, said: “The industry is riven with conflicts of interest at every turn, with manufacturers choosing the most lenient testing bodies for their products.

“It just cannot be right that builders get to choose who marks their homework and urgent action is needed to make sure this does not continue.”

The cross-party group MPs noted the complexities of the current building regulations system in which builders can appoint their own inspectors.

Fire and Rescue Authorities can also inspect the work of their own commercial trading arms set up to provide fire safety advice.

Betts said this system is “compromising safety and putting people are risk in their own homes.

He added: “It desperately needs both simplifying and strengthening and the government must act now before more lives are lost.”

A Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government spokesperson said that the government agrees that “fundamental reform” to the regulatory system was needed.

“That is why we are acting quickly, including consulting on banning the use of combustible materials on high-rise residential buildings, and plans for changing the law to achieve meaningful and lasting reform of the building regulatory system, with strong sanctions for those who fail to comply”.

Did you enjoy this article?