Government enforces combustible materials ban

The government announced in the summer that it would ban combustible materials on high-rise homes.

High-rise blocks. Glasgow housing scheme, in cloudy dusk sky. Inner city/urban deprivation.

The government will be banning combustible materials on new high-rise homes, following its summer announcement.

Today (29th November), Parliament put in place regulations that give legal effect to the combustible materials ban, which will mean combustible materials will not be permitted on external walls of new buildings over 18 metres that contain flats – as well as new hospitals, residential care premises, dormitories in boarding schools and student accommodation over 18 metres.

Schools over 18 metres built as part of the government’s centrally delivered build programmes will also not use combustible materials.

The government has said it will also provide support to local authorities if they need to carry out emergency work to remove and replace unsafe aluminium composite material (ACM) cladding.

Local authorities will get the government’s full backing and financial support to enable them to carry out emergency work on affected private residential buildings with unsafe ACM cladding. They will recover the costs from building owners.

Communities Secretary James Brokenshire is also acting to speed up the replacement of unsafe ACM cladding – such as the type used on Grenfell Tower.

Brokenshire said: “Everyone has a right to feel safe in their homes and I have repeatedly made clear that building owners and developers must replace dangerous ACM cladding. And the costs must not be passed on to leaseholders.”

“My message is clear – private building owners must pay for this work now or they should expect to pay more later.”

The government has already begun funding the replacement of unsafe ACM cladding on social sector buildings taller than 18 metres.

Lord Porter, Local Government Association Chairman, said: “The LGA has led calls for a ban on combustible materials being used on high-rise buildings and it is great to see James Brokenshire act today.

“This ban will provide clarity for building owners who need to know what they can use to replace dangerous cladding and insulation and immediately help keep buildings safer.

“Local authorities acted swiftly following the tragedy at Grenfell Tower to implement precautionary measures where necessary and remove flammable materials on their high-rise blocks.

“Councils also worked hard to try and confirm with building owners whether they have dangerous cladding on their high-rise residential buildings.

“Some private landlords have shown a lack of urgency to identify which buildings have cladding and insulation systems that have failed fire safety tests and take steps to make them safe.

“The measures announced today will therefore help councils take the steps necessary to ensure all residents in their local area are safe and feel safe in their homes, regardless of whether they own the block or not, and to ensure that a tragedy like that at Grenfell never happens again.”

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