New regulations to ban the use of flammable cladding on new and renovated tall buildings

(Title Image: Dave Croker under Creative Commons Licence BY-SA-2.0)

The Welsh Government has tabled regulations which will restrict materials that can be used on the exterior of multi-storey buildings as part of measures resulting from the 2017 Grenfell Disaster.

The regulations (pdf; explanatory memorandum – pdf), which were tabled just before Christmas recess, will apply to new residential buildings (including care homes and student flats) that are at least 18 metres tall. The regulations will also seemingly apply to renovations of existing buildings unless they start within eight weeks of the regulations coming into effect.

Under the regulations, all external cladding, rooves, doors, electrical installations, insulation, fixtures, seals and thermal breaks will need to meet 2019 British Standards for fire tests.

Consideration was given to extending the regulations to include hospitals, but it was decided that they needn’t apply to buildings with formal evacuation strategies. In total, 226 identified buildings will be covered by the new regulations in Wales.

The explanatory memorandum estimates the new regulations will cost developers and the construction industry between £1.8million-2.7million over ten years.

The regulations use the negative procedure, meaning they’ll automatically come into force on 13th January 2020 unless the Senedd requests and passes a vote to revoke them.

BBC Wales reported that the Fire Brigades Union wanted the regulations to apply to buildings of any height as well as a complete ban on combustible materials.

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