Updated Jun 7, 2022

Government announces further fire safety amendments

On 1 June 2022, the UK Government published a response to a consultation run in 2020 on a review of the ban on the use of combustible materials in and on the external walls of buildings.

Following the Grenfell Tower fire tragedy, the Government introduced a ban on the use of combustible materials in and on external walls of high-rise buildings over 18m, amending the Building Regulations SI 2010/2214.

That consultation looked at the proposed changes following the review and invited views on the ban, including types of buildings covered, height threshold, list of exemptions and a proposal to specifically ban the use of metal composite panels - the type that was used to clad the Grenfell Tower - in and on the external walls of all buildings.

Now following the analysis of responses from that consultation, the Government proposes to introduce the Building etc. (Amendment) (England) Regulations 2022 to implement the following:

  • change the building types included within the ban, so hotels, hostels and boarding houses will be within the scope;
  • introduce a complete ban on the use of metal composite with an unmodified polyethylene core on the external walls of all new buildings and buildings undergoing building works, regardless of their height or use;
  • include attachments, such as curtains, slats or sun shading devices to be within the scope of the ban, with a few exemptions for ground floor awnings;
  • amend the list of materials exempted from the combustible materials ban to include fibre optic cables and insulation up to 300mm from ground level;
  • provide an 18-month temporary relaxation for cavity trays in all forms of construction; and
  • update the classification that materials must meet to comply with the combustible materials ban to the current version and allow the top layer of a balcony floor to meet the required standard using the horizontal-testing equivalent of the existing standard (which requires materials to be tested vertically).

Under these proposals, the Government will also amend the Approved Documents to introduce new guidance for external walls and balconies for residential buildings between 11m and 18m. That change will take effect on 1 December 2022.

For more information on this subject, see: