Government updates on fire safety consultations

19 September 2018

THE CONSULTATION on banning combustible material use on high rises saw ‘a majority’ back a ban, while another on banning desktop studies agreed use ‘should be restricted’.

Dame Judith Hackitt’s final report reviewing building regulations and fire safety, undertaken after the Grenfell Tower fire, ‘stopped short’ of calling for a ban on combustible materials, though she said that she would support a ban ‘as long as it was alongside wider reforms’. On the day her report was released, the government opened a consultation on a ban, with Housing Secretary James Brokenshire making the announcement to the House of Commons.

He stated that ‘the government will consult on banning the use of combustible materials in cladding on high-rise buildings’, and Inside Housing has now reported on the ‘majority’ of respondents to the consultation backing the proposals, according to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG). The MHCLG noted this in its response to the Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee’s report on the Hackitt Review.

The initial findings of the consultation, undertaken at the same time as another into the use of desktop studies, saw the MHCLG state: ‘There were 460 responses from a range of individuals and organisations. The government is currently analysing the consultation responses. The majority of respondents agreed with the intention of the consultation and the government will publish its response in the autumn.’

On the desktop study consultation meanwhile, Inside Housing noted that Dame Judith had recommended these be restricted in their use, while the committee said that MHCLG should publish ‘clear guidance outlining the specific circumstances in which desktop studies may be permitted to be used’. With 235 responses so far, the majority ‘agreed’ that their use ‘should be restricted’, but did not agree that they should be banned.

Finally, the MHCLG also noted that it would consider including new guidance relating to the use of sprinklers as part of its review of Approved Document B of the Building Regulations, and stated that it would ‘consider financial flexibilities for local authorities concerned with funding other essential fire safety works in buildings which they own’.

It concluded: ‘We are committed to learning the lessons from the Grenfell disaster and delivering change to ensure such a devastating incident can never happen again. We thank the committee for its inquiry and all who have participated. The government will continue to take into account the committee’s views when producing future policy and setting out an implementation plan in the autumn.’

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Government updates on fire safety consultations