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Combustible cladding ban backed by consultation

A public consultation following Dame Hackitt’s recommendations on fire safety has backed a ban on combustible materials on high-rise exteriors, the government has said.

Revealing initial findings from the consultation, the government said the majority of responses supported new regulations to outlaw using combustible materials on the facades of high-rise buildings.

The government launched the consultation after Dame Hackitt’s investigation called for a new regulatory system, but stopped short of proposing a ban on the use of combustible cladding.

In its initial response to the consultation, the government said: “The government agrees with the conclusions of Dame Judith Hackitt’s review that the suite of Approved Documents guidance should be restructured and revised, to enhance their usability.

“Our consultation on banning the use of combustible materials in the external walls of high-rise buildings closed on 14 August.

“There were 460 responses from a range of individuals and organisations. The government is currently analysing the consultation responses.

“The majority of respondents agreed with the intention of the consultation and the government will publish its response in the autumn.”

The government said it will announce the outcome on changes to the Approved Document B later this year, including an implementation plan. 

However, the response declined to commit to Dame Hackitt’s recommendation that sprinklers should be retrofitted to existing high-rise residential buildings to provide an extra safety measure for residents.

The government said: “An appropriate level of fire safety can be achieved without the need to retrofit sprinklers and, as the committee notes, it may not be feasible to install a system – for example, for structural reasons.

“It is for building owners to seek professional advice and decide whether to fit sprinklers, on the basis of their assessment of the particular risk faced in their building(s).” 

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