William Eichler 23 December 2019

Welsh government bans combustible cladding

The Welsh government has banned the use of combustible cladding on high rise buildings following the Hackitt review into fire safety regulations after the Grenfell tragedy.

Wales’ housing minister Julie James said last week that the use of combustible cladding on the external walls of high rise buildings in Wales will be banned from 13 January 2020.

Dame Judith Hackitt’s independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety, published in May 2018, made recommendations for significant changes in the treatment of high risk residential buildings of 10 storeys or more from their construction through to occupation.

In response to the report, the Welsh Government said it would move to ban the use of combustible materials in cladding systems on high-rise residential buildings in Wales (18m or more).

Ms James has now approved the regulations that will put a ban in place.

The ban will apply to combustible cladding on all new residential buildings and hospitals over 18m in height. It will also apply to existing buildings where relevant building work is being carried out which falls within the scope of the Building Regulations.

‘Our homes should be the safest of places. The action I have taken today will help ensure we make people safer in their homes, and leaves no room for doubt as to what is suitable for use on external walls of relevant buildings 18m or more in height,’ said Ms James.

‘In Wales, we have a proud track record of achieving high standards of fire safety. We have a record low number of dwelling fires, and in 2016, we became the first country in the world to make it compulsory for all new and converted homes to have sprinklers installed.

‘But we know there is still much more we need to do to ensure that there is greater clarity across the life cycle of a building as to the roles and responsibilities of those designing, constructing and managing buildings. I intend to publish a White Paper in 2020 setting out the detail of my plans.’

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