HSE watchdogs to monitor cladding replacement

HSE watchdogs to monitor cladding replacement

A TEAM of inspectors from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) will visit buildings where cladding is being replaced to ‘monitor safety’.

Inside Housing reported on the team of 15 inspectors, who will carry out ‘unannounced’ visits to high rises and ‘starting with mainly social housing’ in order to ensure that replacement of cladding ‘is being done safely’. The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) provided HSE with a full list of buildings clad in aluminium composite material (ACM), and HSE inspectors will visit those ‘at higher risk’ alongside local fire and rescue services.

These visits will ‘consider various issues relating to the prevention of fire’, and will cover around 80 to 90 buildings that make up about 20% of the MHCLG list. Ray Cooke, head of HSE’s construction safety team, stated: ‘The process issues are very much about what techniques of work are they going to choose to use. Are there safer techniques of work to cut down on the risk of fire?

‘What are you doing with the material that you take off? How much are you keeping on site in any one day? What are your waste collection facilities? All of those sorts of things are process fire risks and that’s very much going to be the emphasis of what we look at.’

He added that HSE will write to owners and managing agents of buildings explaining standards expected when it visits, and although the inspectors’ remit will cover all ACM clad buildings in social and private ownership, it would ‘inevitably begin’ with social housing as landlords ‘make up the vast majority of those who have started remediation work’.

Mr Cooke also commented: ‘What you can’t do is leave the insulation exposed, as that’s likely to get wet and fall off the building. I hope people, when they have been taking stuff off, have thought through what they’ve been taking off and have done it in a correct way so they’re not creating other risks.’