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Combustible Cladding Policy

Posted by wilkinsoncc on May 21, 2018 at 8:55 AM

The Hackitt report was published last week and like many we were shocked at its conclusions, and importantly its lack of them in relation to cladding.

Given the clear case for action on combustible cladding and the ease with which an amendment could be made by issuing a corrigenda amendment to Approved Document B, we cannot understand why Dame Hackitt did not make this move a top priority.


As it stand there are no changes to the guidance in the Approved Documents and designers and contractors could continue to use Desk Top Studies to justify the use of untested cladding systems. This simply cannot be right.


We note that LABC have produced guidance saying they will continue to accept not only method 3 desktop studies but even method 4 studies subject to certain restrictions. This is all the more concerning as Dame Hackitt has suggested that only LABC should continue to approve High Rise buildings effectively banning Approved Inspectors working on them. This despite both Grenfell Tower and Lakanal House being Local Authority projects.


Over the next few weeks we will be making a series of posts reviewing the Hackitt report and setting out what we believe to be a better and more logical solution to the problems with the current system.


However in the meantime whilst we can continue to deal with High Rise Buildings (and in the longer term on buildings between 18m and 10 storeys) WCCL are today announcing the following policy.


1) We will advise clients to adopt the following strategy set out in BS 9991 2015 as though it supersedes the Approved Document - e.g.


• The external surfaces of walls should meet the provisions in Figure 17.

• In a building with a storey 18 m or more above ground level, any cladding material, insulation product, filler material (not including gaskets, sealants and similar), etc., used in the external wall construction should be of limited combustibility.

• Cavity barriers should be provided in accordance with Clause 19.

• External balconies that are enclosed should be constructed and separated from other enclosed balconies with compartmentation and fire-resisting construction in accordance with Annex D.


2) Where clients wish to use combustible construction despite our advice, then the external walls must meet the performance criteria given in BRE Report BR 135 for cladding systems. We will require full scale test data from BS 8414-1 or BS 8414-2 for the exact system to be used. We will not accept any variation from those test results and or desk top studies in any form to justify the use of combustible materials in systems that have not been tested.


We appreciate that this policy may result in losing projects to other BCB who do not take this approach and that this approach may be challenged by those producing combustible cladding products. However, pending the full outcome of the Grenfell Inquiry and revised updated guidance being issued by MHCLG we do not believe that it is appropriate to do nothing. We therefore call upon all BCB and those involved in construction to adopt the same consistent approach and to provide reassurance to those living and working in high rise buildings that cladding is safe.




Categories: Technical

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