The government of Wales has instituted a ban on combustible cladding, of the type implicated in the 2017 Grenfell Tower fire, for high rise buildings.
The ban, which will come into force on 13 January 2020, prohibits the use of combustible cladding material in the construction of all new residential buildings – to include blocks of flats, student halls of residence and care homes – and hospital buildings higher than 18m. Combustible cladding will also be banned in construction works being conducted on existing buildings.
Welsh Housing Minister Julie James said: “The fire at Grenfell Tower in London was a tragedy that will live long in the memories of so many of us in this country. Our homes should be the safest of places. The action I have taken today will help ensure we make people safer in their homes; and leaves no room for doubt as to what is suitable for use on external walls of relevant buildings 18m or more in height.
“In Wales, we have a proud track record of achieving high standards of fire safety. We have a record low number of dwelling fires, and in 2016, we became the first country in the world to make it compulsory for all new and converted homes to have sprinklers installed. But we know there is still much more we need to do to ensure that there is greater clarity across the life cycle of a building as to the roles and responsibilities of those designing, constructing and managing buildings. I intend to publish a White Paper in 2020 setting out the detail of my plans.”
Grenfell Tower, a high rise apartment block in London’s North Kensington borough, was destroyed in a fire in June 2017. The rapid spread of the fire was exacerbated by the cladding used on the building, which incorporated a highly combustible filler. 72 people between the ages of six months and 84 years old were killed in the Grenfell fire, which was one of the UK’s most destructive disasters in recent years.