Select Committee on Environment, Transport and Regional Affairs First Report


  • The evidence we have received during this inquiry does not suggest that the majority of the external cladding systems currently in use in the UK poses a serious threat to life or property in the event of fire (paragraph 18).

  • Notwithstanding what we have said in paragraph 18 above, we do not believe that it should take a serious fire in which many people are killed before all reasonable steps are taken towards minimising the risks (paragraph 19).

  • We therefore recommend that compliance with the standards set in the 'Test for assessing the fire performance of external cladding systems', which has been submitted to the British Standards Institution for adoption as a British Standard, be substituted in Approved Document B for previous requirements relating to the fire safety of external cladding systems (paragraph 20).

  • We recommend that DETR and the Housing Corporation instruct local authorities and Registered Social Landlords to undertake a review of their existing building stock with a view to ascertaining how many multi-storey buildings are currently using external cladding systems; and how many cladding systems are in use which, whilst complying with the regulations in force at the time when they were installed, do not comply with current Regulations. Competent fire safety assessors should then be called in to evaluate what work may be necessary to ensure that no undue risk is posed by any of these systems, with particular reference to the lessons learnt from the fires at Knowsley Heights and Garnock Court. Local authorities and Registered Social Landlords should also be instructed to monitor existing cladding systems carefully to ensure that the materials from which they are constructed do not degrade over time and become less resistant to flame spread than they were at the time of construction (paragraph 22).

  • Approved Document B should make it clear that any addition to the outside of a building which has the potential to lessen its resistance to external fire spread is subject to the Building Regulations and therefore to the guidance contained within that document (paragraph 23).

  • We would strongly support any moves to consolidate existing fire safety legislation (paragraph 24).

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