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Government prepares 'major' review of Building Regulations

Grenfell tower fire crop

Government officials have started preparing for a ‘major’ review of the Building Regulations in England, according to the BBC

According to Newsnight, civil servants have been startled by how the regulations have been interpreted by those in the building industry – although there is still doubt about whether the main issue is Approved Document B on fire safety or the regulations’ enforcement.

It is also unclear when the government review of the Building Regulations will be officially announced, said Newsnight.

Earlier this week, New Scotland Yard said it believed the death toll from the Grenfell Tower fire would remain at around 80, and that about 350 people were in the building when the fire broke out.

A spokesperson for the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) told the AJ that it would make an announcement soon regarding the building regulatory system. 

The AJ understands that the DCLG is assessing why and how non-compliant cladding has been used in buildings across the UK, and it will make an announcement about the building regulatory system shortly.

As of this morning [14 July], cladding from 228 high-rise buildings across 48 local authorities - and nine other areas in the UK - has failed combustibility tests conducted by the Building Research Establishment (BRE) on behalf of the government.

Cladding samples from around 600 high-rise buildings across the UK are expected to be tested by the BRE on behalf of the government. 

More to follow



Readers' comments (3)

  • It would be sense to re-write the regulations to permit cladding only of completely non-combustible materials with immediate effect.

    That officials were surprised by how rules were being interpreted is laughable after Lakanal House and other fires.

    Officials involved in writing the Regs must have a thorough knowledge and understanding of current practice. We are now up to 228 high-rise blocks at risk, and I understand that the PFI University College Hospital is also on the list.

    An incredible waste of money, far exceeding the £10bn saving through de-regulation promised by Pickles.

    Lives are at risk, and indeed have been lost, by such bumbling.

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  • MacKenzie Architects

    There was an interesting article in one of the online construction papers earlier this week.

    It was suggested that the test they carried out on the first batch of 80-odd buildings' cladding samples was a calorific test in pure oxygen, and not a recognised 'construction industry' test.
    (All of these buildings failed their test and this heightened panic)

    A calorific test, if I understand it correctly, is intended to determine basically how much 'fuel' is in the sample. They weigh a sample, burn it in pure oxygen *, heat some water with it and measure the temperature rise. This of course doesn't have much to do with combustibility or non-combustibility at all.
    * Clean air is approx. 21% oxygen

    You could do the same test with a cheese sandwich and find out just about as much.

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  • The cladding performance issue seems to be overshadowing all else - but isn't the reported heavy smoke logging of the only (and supposedly protected) escape stair route also of enormous concern?
    And howcome the Fire Brigade doesn't have the tallest available escape ladder, and had to bring one in from outside London?
    I seem to recollect that Boris Johnson, when Mayor, invested in water cannon - so presumably it's a question of priorities?

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