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Government proposals to toughen building safety rules

The UK Government has called for a consultation to tighten up building safety rules, specifically looking at restricting or banning the use of ‘desktop studies’ as a way of assessing the fire performance of external cladding systems.

The tough new rules, which are designed to strengthen fire testing for cladding systems on residential buildings, were published for consultation on 11th April 2018, by Housing Secretary Sajid Javid.

The revisions come directly as a result of the recommendations made by Dame Judith Hackitt in her interim report from the review into building regulations and fire safety published last year. The consultation pushes this even further by asking whether ‘desktop studies’ should be used at all.

Views are being sought for the consultation on whether ‘desktop studies’ are appropriate for all construction products, wall systems (cladding) or for any other purpose. If deemed appropriate, changes will be made to the desktop studies to 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.

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.”

The proposals are subject to a full consultation that will end on 25th May 2018.


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