Call to extend ban on combustible materials as Draft Safety Bill published



RiskSTOP is supporting calls for the Government to extend a ban on the use of combustible materials to a wider range of buildings than is currently proposed. 

In its response to a Government consultation first published in January, the Construction Industry Council (CIC) has suggested the ban should include care homes, halls of residence and schools. 

The consultation proposes changing the Building Regulations to ban the use of combustible materials in and on external walls and in specified attachments to the external walls on buildings such as hotels, hostels and boarding houses of 11m or above.

The CIC’s response said: “There is also a case to extend the ban to buildings where there is a reduced capacity for escape such as care homes and hospitals and where young people assemble, (e.g. schools and nurseries) and public assembly buildings (e.g. theatres, libraries and community centres).”

The CIC is also urging the Government to consider reducing the 11m height for buildings where vulnerable people sleep, including care homes, which it claimed represent “a higher risk.” It said: “A risk-based approach should be considered, rather than relying only on trigger heights as the key criteria for making these decisions. For example, Rosepark Care Home in Hertfordshire was only two storeys yet the 2017 fire there resulted in 14 deaths. We would welcome further research into the height aspect.”

David Reynolds, RiskSTOP’s Head of Risk Engineering and Surveys, said: “We welcome the CIC’s response, which aims to protect the safety of those who are most vulnerable. We also welcome their recommendation that more research and investigation be carried out to help determine the height at which combustible buildings should face an outright ban.” 

The Government’s proposals include a ban on metal composite panels with a polyethylene core, including the type used on Grenfell Tower. The CIC’s full response to the consultation can be found here

The Government has also recently published a Draft Building Safety Bill, which includes a number of measures including the creation of a new national regulator for building safety, within the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). The Draft Bill, together with a near 200-page document providing explanatory notes, can be found here. The Government is inviting views through a process of pre-legislative scrutiny.