IOSH responds to combustibles ban

IOSH responds to combustibles ban

THE INSTITUTION of Occupation Safety and Health (IOSH) believes that the ban ‘should apply to all’ high rise buildings.

Housing Secretary James Brokenshire announced the ban at the Conservative Party conference, with the government stating later that following the Grenfell Tower fire, it had ‘established a comprehensive building safety programme’ and an independent review of building regulations and fire safety, and that earlier this year it ‘said it would it ban the use of combustible materials on external walls of high-rise buildings subject to consultation’.

After this consultation, it has now confirmed the ban will go forward and apply to all high rise buildings containing flats ‘as well as hospitals, residential care premises and student accommodation above 18 metres’. The ban will be delivered ‘through changes to building regulations and will limit materials available to products achieving a European classification of Class A1 or A2.

PBC Today reported on IOSH’s views, with the institution stating that the ban ‘provides some clarity and simplification’, but ‘doesn’t go far enough’, having previously ‘urged’ the government to ‘take urgent action to strengthen the UK system for building and fire safety’ after Dame Judith Hackitt’s review of building regulations and fire safety.

Richard Jones, head of policy and public affairs at IOSH, stated: ‘As was revealed in Dame Judith’s review findings, the UK system requires fundamental reform. Given that this will take significant time and the fact the public is very concerned about fire safety, banning the use of combustible materials on new high-rise residential buildings is a step in the right direction. It provides some clarity and simplification for the construction industry.

‘But it doesn’t go far enough. In cities and towns across the UK, many people live and also work in high-rise buildings. They all need to be protected. Therefore, the ban should cover all high-rise buildings, existing and new, and both residential and non-residential. Existing buildings should not remain clad in combustible materials, but should have improvement plans put in place.

‘We also believe it is unacceptable to allow building work using newly-banned materials to start or continue, so the ban should apply to projects already underway.’