Key BRE combustibility report to be published within weeks

Labour gets answer out of Esther McVey to confirm Autumn publication.

PERKO-POWER_controlled_concealed_jamb-mounted_door_closer

Labour has an answer out of Esther McVey over the publication within weeks of a ‘full report’ on the tests undertaken by the Building Research Establishment (BRE).

The confirmation came in a response to a Commons question from Labour’s Steve Reed as to when such a report might be published.

Acting on advice from an Expert Panel, the government commissioned research from the BRE earlier this year to support further understanding of the fire performance of non-Aluminium Composite Material external wall systems.

The materials tested include zinc and copper composite materials, aluminium honeycomb panels, high pressure laminate panels, brick slip systems, and reconstituted stone.

Responding to Reed, McVey said that with the preliminary testing concluded in the Summer, the programme was now in an analysis phase.

“The research findings will be published in Autumn,” she said.

Last week, McVey batted away answers on combustibility, with a stock response saying that the information requested wasn’t ready for answers.

Reed had asked why MHCLG has not issued a call for samples of building materials used in external wall materials and insulation of high-rise buildings as part of the recent data-collection exercise on external wall systems in blocks.

McVey replied: “The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government has indicated that it will not be possible to answer this question within the usual time period. An answer is being prepared and will be provided as soon as it is available.”

So Reed referenced the recent fires at Samuel Garside House in Barking Riverside, Beechmere retirement complex in Crewe, and Sherbrooke Way in Worcester Park, to ask if MHCLG will make an assessment of the potential merits of banning the use of timber cladding in residential buildings.

McVey replied: “The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government has indicated that it will not be possible to answer this question within the usual time period. An answer is being prepared and will be provided as soon as it is available.”

Reed then went on to building insulation, asking whether any burning had begun in the large scale test in June this year that was aborted due to “procedural issues”.

McVey replied: “The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government has indicated that it will not be possible to answer this question within the usual time period. An answer is being prepared and will be provided as soon as it is available.”

Last month, the heat was on McVey over the release of building fire safety papers, with the Commons HCLG committee calling for the release of reneged details of materials deemed too dangerous for new developments but allowed for old.

Release of the papers had been promised by McVey’s predecessor, Kit Malthouse, and the committee wanted that promise honoured, expressing its “disappointment” that the papers – listing products that would not be allowed on new buildings but that government is content to keep on existing buildings – have yet to be produced.

A letter from the committee was sent to McVey this week saying members would be “grateful” for the request to be reconsidered.

As reported by 24housing, McVey has already seemingly hinted at ‘wriggle room’ for private sector building owners over ACM cladding replacement – with no blanket definition of what constitutes exceptional circumstances for work not being done to deadline.

And that came just a month the HCLG committee warned that the £200m currently set aside for the remediation of private sector residential buildings with ACM cladding will not be enough.

Responding to a written Commons question, McVey said such circumstances would instead be considered on a case by case basis.

Malthouse was also accused in the Commons of misleading MPs over building safety fire tests.

Labour leapt on to an answer Malthouse gave to a written Commons questions from Reed, raising the fire safety tests carried out in the UK on High Pressure Laminate cladding prior to June 2017.

Malthouse effectively admitted that, for the last eight months, his department has been aware of another cladding type that failed a large-scale fire test.

Shadow Housing Minister Sarah Jones said that amounted to misleading MPs over a promise to remove any building cladding that failed fire tests in the wake of the Grenfell disaster.

Similar stories by tag

Comments