Fire expert recommends ‘continued’ use of combustible insulation

Fire expert recommends ‘continued’ use of combustible insulation

SIR KEN Knight, the chair of the government’s independent expert panel, called for limits on the potential ban on combustible materials to allow continued use of insulation.

Inside Housing reported on the views of Sir Ken in a letter to a committee of MPs, in which he shared his views on building regulations in the wake of the Grenfell Tower fire, and in relation to the government’s announcement that it would launch a consultation on banning combustible material use on high rise buildings. He said he believed this should ‘be limited to only’ the specific materials used on Grenfell, namely aluminium composite material (ACM) panels with a polyethylene (PE) core.

Sir Ken wrote: ‘It may… be worth considering if the banning of cladding materials might more appropriately be narrowly focused on ‘banning’ the use of ACM PE (and any similar polyethylene core composite materials) on the external face of a building regardless of height. This approach would still enable combustible insulation to be used, but only if it is proved to be safe in the circumstances of the particular building by completion of the cladding test of BS 8414.’

His letter also disagreed with cladding manufacturers over their interpretation of Approved Document B of the Building Regulations ‘in relation to combustible cladding’, and argued that the Class 0 standard ‘applies only to the surface of a cladding panel’, while the limited combustibility standard is required for the core.