News

Welsh Government to enforce ban on combustible materials

The Welsh government has announced that as of today, it will be enforcing a cladding ban which applies the same restrictions as in England. However, in the run-up to the ban, reports have surfaced regarding discontent from Welsh firefighters about the application of the law.

TFT Partner, John Newton, who heads up the Cardiff office said:

There seems to be mixed views on the ban, directly on the extent of its effect when only applying to buildings above the height threshold. Firefighters here have been pushing for a ban to apply to all buildings, regardless of height in order to create a much safer environment.

A White Paper will be published by Julie James, Housing Minister for Wales, to lay out the details of the Government’s plans following the national enforcement.

The below provides more information on what the ban includes and how it will affect buildings in the relevant regions.

The ban is on combustible cladding (I.e Euroclass B or lower) materials to building facade cladding and relates to new buildings with floors above 18m and covers schools, residential (including hotels, boarding houses, hostels), hospitals, care homes and student accommodation.

In 2018, in a surprise move, the Government stopped short of a retrospective ban on existing combustible cladding systems. Whilst this does not necessarily mean that existing properties are unsafe (there are many factors to ensuring that a building performs adequately in a fire), investors and occupiers will wish to obtain specialist advice particularly in relation to residential assets over 18m in height.

Alan Pemberton, TFT Partner says:

Although the government has implemented a ban on combustible cladding and insulation for residential buildings over 18m, this is not to be applied retrospectively, but where does this leave existing buildings or developments under construction? Potentially blighted and unsafe to occupy?

Not necessarily.

Existing occupied buildings must be fully assessed and evaluated by a suitable qualified person, not only in terms of life safety means of escape, but property protection for risk of fire ignition and spread. Buildings insurance will also be a determining factor with construction approved by insurers to ensure cover provision.

In our view, for buildings under construction and not yet complete, the industry has a duty to construct safe buildings (irrespective of whether works were in compliance before the ban, not just when the ban came into force), especially based on the information now known regarding certain products and materials.

For more information, please contact Simon Young at syoung@tftconsultants.com