Combustible Cladding Regulations – the New Rules


The Government has been under increasing pressure to revise the building regulations permitting the use of combustible materials in cladding systems after the incident with Grenfell Tower in London in June 2017 which resulted in the death of 72 people.


On the 29 November 2018 twelve new declarations were introduced into the Building Act 1984 by the Building (Amendment) Regulations 2018 relating to fire safety in new residential buildings and which take effect from 21 December 2018.  It applies only to residential buildings, not buildings with commercial purposes such as hotels.  The most significant change sees the introduction of a total ban on combustible materials used on the external walls/systems of new residential buildings of a height of 18m or more. The materials used must now meet the European Class A2-s1 standards/British classification A1 – i.e. products with a classification of B through to F, which are combustible, are now banned.  Although the new Regulations only apply to the exterior they do extend to specified attachments, such as balconies and sunshades.


The revised Regulations apply to any new buildings which are a height of 18m or more above ground level and which contain one or more dwellings, an institution or a room for residential purposes so this includes student accommodation, care homes and hospitals.


Although not retrospective the Regulations will apply where there is a material change of use of an existing building to a type of building covered by the Regulations, e.g. a change from offices to a residential block, or there is a material alteration to a building of a type covered by the Regulations.


There are however some exemptions – the Regulations will not apply to:

  1. buildings currently under construction where building work started before or within 2 months of 21 December 2018,
  2. construction works which have been given a building notice or confirmed full construction plans before 21st December 2018.


Further improvements to legislation are expected including:

  1. a new and more successful method to test construction products
  2. the creation of a Joint Competent Authority (JCA) to oversee the mitigation of safety risks in constructions
  3. increased checks and planning for all high-rise construction projects to guarantee they meet fire safety regulations


Concerns have been presented by the National House Building Council who feel the local authorities will have neither the resources or the expertise to fully implement these new Regulations due to the high financial cost. Many commentators also feel there should be an outright ban on all combustible cladding in all buildings.


For more information, please contact Linda Fletcher