James Brokenshire's combustible cladding ban not good enough, says Fire Brigades Union

James Brokenshire's combustible cladding ban not good enough, says Fire Brigades Union

A workman removes cladding from a tower in the wake of the Grenfell trag

Monday, October 1, 2018

James Brokenshire announced that combustible cladding like the type used on Grenfell Tower will be banned on certain buildings, but the the Fire Brigades Union responded by saying was not the complete ban the union hoped for.

The updated regulation “continues to allow cladding of limited combustibility”, they said.

The housing secretary announced during his speech that the material will not be authorised for use on any new high-rise buildings, care homes, hospitals or student accommodation.

“It’s been over a year since the tragedy of the Grenfell Tower fire,” Brokenshire said.

“This unimaginable horror has rightly shocked us all and underlined the need to do all that we can to see that such a disaster cannot happen again

“My work with Grenfell United and the wider community has been hugely helpful in keeping this issue right at the top of the government's agenda.

“And that is why today I can confirm that I will change the building regulations to ban the use of combustible materials for all new high rise residential buildings, hospitals, registered care homes and student accommodation.”


Cladding 'unlawful'

In June, architect and TV presenter George Clarke started a petition to ban combustible cladding.

The government responded within days to the petition, saying: “The Government intends to ban the use of combustible materials on the external walls of high-rise residential buildings, subject to the consultation published today.”

The cladding on Grenfell Tower, it added, “was unlawful under existing building regulations. It should not have been used”.


Manufacturer blamed windows

The cladding used on Grenfell Tower was blamed for the spread of the fire, after it was revealed that it failed to meet safety requirements in tests from as long ago as 2014.

In June, lawyers for the manufacturer of the panels, Arconic, told the Grenfell enquiry that the cladding was a “contributing factor” to the blaze, and laid the blame on the fact that the windows on the building didn’t offer better fire protection.

The Fire Brigades Union criticised Brokenshire’s ban, saying it was only partial.

“This is not the outright ban on combustible cladding that firefighters have been calling for,” said general secretary Matt Wrack.

“The Westminster government continues to allow cladding of limited combustibility for any building work in the future. The FBU called for a universal ban on these flammable materials.”