Today, Government Housing Secretary Sajid Javid will be consulted on tough new rules to strengthen fire testing for cladding systems on residential buildings as a means to improve building safety.
With aim to improve building safety, the consultation will look at restricting or banning the use of “desktop studies” as a means to assess the fire performance of external cladding systems.
Rules Respond to Hackitt Interim Report
The new building safety rules regarding “desktop studies” are a direct response to recommendations made by Dame Judith Hackitt in her interim report on fire safety and building regulations published in 2017. The Government is going a step further by question whether desktop studies should be used at all.
Desktop Studies in Construction
The purpose of the consultation is designed to understand whether ‘desktop studies’ are appropriate for all construction products, wall systems (cladding) or for any other purpose.
If ‘desktop studies’ are deemed appropriate, the proposed changes include improving the transparency of assessments, enabling proper scrutiny of results and ensuring that the studies can only be carried out by properly accredited bodies that have the relevant expertise.
These proposals are subject to a full consultation that will end on 25 May 2018.
Housing Secretary, Sajid Javid said:
“We have listened carefully to Dame Judith Hackitt and we are taking action to strengthen building regulations guidance, which could mean that the use of ‘desktop studies’ are either significantly restricted or banned altogether.”
“This demonstrates the tough measures we are prepared to take to make sure that cladding tests are as robust as possible and people are safe in their homes.“