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Review of the ban on the use of combustible materials in and on the external walls of buildings

This consultation sought views on the scope of the ban and the list of exemptions, including additional attachments to external walls in the ban.

Objectives of the consultation

In December 2018 the Government introduced regulations that in-effect ban the use of combustible materials in and on the external walls of specific types of highrise buildings as well as specified attachments.

Following consultation, the Building Regulations were amended to restrict the use of combustible materials in and on external walls and specified attachments to a list of materials essential for construction and without an available non-combustible alternative.

In the Explanatory Memorandum published alongside the Statutory Instrument, the Government committed to review the effectiveness of the ban after one year and this was a consultation on proposed changes to the Regulations following that review.

The consultation sought views and supporting evidence on the proposals for:

  • Changing the Building Types Covered by the Ban;
  • Changing the Height Threshold of the Ban;
  • Ban on the Use of Metal Composite Materials with a Polyethylene Core;
  • Including Solar Shading Products Within the Ban;
  • Changing the List of Exemptions;
  • Changing the Performance Requirements of the Ban.

This consultation closed on 25 May 2020.

Supporting papers

To download documents, which supported this consultation, follow the links below.

CIBSE response

The Institution was pleased to respond to the technical consultation paper reviewing the ban on the use of combustible materials in and on the external walls of buildings.

CIBSE agrees that hotels, hostels and boarding houses should be included in the definition of relevant buildings in Regulation 7(4). These buildings contain sleeping accommodation with a risk that the occupants are unlikely to be familiar with the building layout and provisions for means of escape. Residents are likely to need longer to evacuate safely in the event of a fire, the Required Safe Egress Time (RSET).

CIBSE supports a change in the height limit in Regulation 7(4) (a) to 11m. However, there is a need for further research into appropriate thresholds. This should not be limited to the concept of “building risk”. It should look at what is practical today bearing in mind modern fire fighting equipment and current thinking, training and health and safety constraints on what fire fighters can reasonably be expected to achieve. As well as building risk there may also need to be research into what degree of access is typically available around buildings and what implications that may have for rescue operations. There is a distinct lack of up to date evidence on these issues.

To read CIBSE responses to detail consultation questions, follow the link below.

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