15 May 2019
With the Building (Amendment) Regulations coming into force in December 2018, which outlined stricter rules surrounding usable materials for buildings following the Grenfell tragedy, all external walls and balconies must now only use materials that comply with specified tests for combustibility.
Jon Pagan, director of fire safety engineering at FIA member company International Fire Consultants and chair of the FIA’s Fire Engineering Council, explored the effects of new fire regulations on the construction industry.
He explained "If a non-compliant material has been accidentally used it will have to be entirely removed from the external wall of the building, even if it means destroying the external walls of the building and rebuilding entirely.
"Therefore, compliance with the new regulations is vital, since a failure to comply (whether intentionally or not) could cause weeks or months of delay.
"For large projects, the costs could run into hundreds of thousands or even millions."
Jon concludes by giving his expert advice on how the industry will 'have to adapt to address the risks.'
"One option would be to create a register of all materials used in the external walls. This register must be monitored by a competent fire engineer to ensure that only compliant materials are included," he said.
The Guidance for the Building (Amendment) Regulations, produced by the FIA, offers clear and concise information about the new terms and what they mean for construction and fire protection.