02 October 2018
The Fire Brigades Union says that the ban on flammable cladding announced by the government yesterday, does not go far enough.
“This is not the outright ban on combustible cladding that firefighters have been calling for," Matt Wrack the general secretary of the FBU said.
"The Westminster government continues to allow cladding of limited combustibility for any building work in the future. The FBU called for a universal ban on these flammable materials," Mr Wrack continued.
“These measures do not deal with the existing cladding on nearly 500 buildings across England where people live and work every day. The government’s proposals only apply to buildings over 18 metres high, plus hospitals, care homes and student accommodation, when they should apply to all buildings, whatever their height or use. They continue to allow A2 materials, when they should permit only the highest standard of A1”.
He also called for local authorities to be given more control over building standards for structures in their locality: “Fire authorities and local councils need to be fully funded to carry out fire safety inspections now and in the future. The government must change the law to ensure firefighters and tenants are consulted on safety matters in homes. The government must fund a national independent programme of research into building materials and government-run testing regime for materials.
“Many residents of high rise residential buildings and firefighters wanted more comprehensive action taken against flammable cladding. This government has failed to deliver.”
According to The Guardian, the Ministry of Housing said the aluminium composite material panels used on Grenfell Tower were already prohibited but the new regulations will extend the ban to include plastics, wood and products that include combustible materials such as aluminium composite panels in the external wall systems used in residential buildings more than 18 metres tall.
The only materials that will be allowed are those classed as A1 or A2, which includes elements such as metal, stone and glass, which seldom contribute to fires; or plasterboard, which makes no significant contribution.
The FBU's Matt Wrack said that controls should apply to all buildings, not just those over 18m.