Consultation unveiled on proposed new cladding rules

On behalf of Attwaters Jameson Hill posted in Planning Law on Wednesday, May 2nd, 2018

Prior to his appointment as Home Secretary on Monday 30 April 2018, former Housing Secretary Sajid Javid unveiled an important consultation on new proposals to improve fire and safety testing on cladding systems installed on residential buildings.

It is expected that the consultation, which comes in the wake of the Grenfell Tower tragedy, will now be overseen by new Housing Secretary James Brokenshire in the months ahead.

Following the Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety led by Dame Judith Hackitt last year in the immediate aftermath of the Grenfell disaster, the Government’s consultation document has been geared towards restricting – or even banning – the use of so-called ‘desktop studies’ when assessing the fire safety of cladding, amid concerns that such assessments are insufficient.

This approach comes after an interim report published just before Christmas argued that existing regulations regarding fire testing for cladding systems are also “too complex and unclear”.

According to the interim report, “the clarity of roles and responsibilities” governing fire testing is “poor” and, in many cases, prone to causing “confusion and misinterpretation” – particularly when applied to high rise residential buildings like Grenfell.

Speaking on Thursday 19 April 2018, Mr Javid said that the housing department had “listened carefully to Dame Judith Hackett” and was “taking action to strengthen building regulations guidance, which could mean that the use of ‘desktop studies’ are either significantly restricted or banned altogether”.

He added: “This demonstrates the tough measures we are prepared to take to make sure that cladding tests are as robust as possible and people are safe in their homes”.

The consultation, which will run until 25 May 2018, can be accessed here.

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