The Government has finally launched its consultation on banning the use of combustible materials in the external walls of tower blocks more than four weeks after initially announcing its intention to do so.
The commitment to consult on banning combustible materials was originally made by James Brokenshire on 17 May 2018 during the Secretary of State’s Oral Statement to Parliament on the day the final report of Dame Judith Hackitt’s Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety was published. The consultation document was eventually launched on 18 June shortly after the first anniversary of the Grenfell Tower fire and the consultation period will last for eight weeks until 14 August 2018. The proposed ban goes beyond simply banning the Grenfell style ACM cladding panels and could extend to all combustible materials. Responses will be analysed over the summer and a Government response will follow.
Officials have estimated that a ban on using combustible materials could cost social landlords up to £110m over a ten year period, due to additional construction work and costs on new developments. The ban would not apply retrospectively to existing buildings where no work is being carried out, nor would it apply to works already underway. On 11 June 2018, during a statement on the Government’s response to the Grenfell Tower fire to Parliament, the Secretary of State reaffirmed the Government’s intention “to ban the use of combustible materials on the external walls of high-rise residential buildings, subject to consultation”. This consultation is seeking views on proposals to ban the use of certain materials.