The specific kind of cladding used on Grenfell Tower that allowed the deadly blaze to spread rapidly, has been banned from use five years after the tragedy, the Government has announced. Fire safety guidance published on Wednesday means that metal composite material panels with unmodified polyethylene core, known as MCM PE, will be banned on all new buildings of any height in England.
The cladding was used on the outside of Grenfell Tower, which caught fire on June 14, 2017, claiming the lives of 72 people. A ban on MCM PE previously only applied to buildings higher than 11m (36ft).
The Government will also restrict the types of cladding material used on buildings between 11m and 18m in height, to prevent their construction with combustible materials. Housing Minister Lord Greenhalgh said: “We have introduced the biggest improvements to building safety in a generation, under the Building Safety Act.
“These changes will support our tough new regulatory regime – ensuring fire safety measures are incorporated into new high-rise homes and all new residential buildings meet the same safety standards. It does not end here and I urge the industry act quickly to update their practises in line with these new rules.”
Under the measures announced by the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, all new residential buildings over 11m will have to include a secure information box that will give fire services access to important details about a building in the event of a fire. New residential developments over 18m will also have to incorporate an evacuation alert system to help firefighters inform residents of a change in evacuation strategy, during an incident.
The scope of a ban on using combustible materials on buildings higher than 18m has also been extended to include hospitals, hotels and boarding schools. The National Fire Chief’s Council (NFCC) Protection and Business Safety Committee chair, Gavin Tomlinson, said: “NFCC especially welcomes the introduction of emergency evacuation alert systems in new buildings over 18m.
“We also support the inclusion of Secure Information Boxes in buildings over 11m, which will give fire and rescue services access to important details about a building and its residents in the event of a fire. On the changes to building regulations, we are encouraged that unsafe MCM PE cladding panels are banned on all buildings and that the government has promised stronger safety standards for the use of combustible materials on external walls.”
For more stories from where you live, visit InYourArea.