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Business, taken personally.

Contentious cladding: the conversation continues

Posted by Joshua Atkinson on 13th October 2020

Following the Grenfell tragedy, the use of aluminium and polyethylene cladding (ACM) was banned on high-rise buildings in excess of 18 metres, in December 2018. Rarely for the UK, the law was even enacted retrospectively to require the removal of ACMs on buildings constructed prior.

This year the government launched the Review of the ban on the use of combustible materials in and on the external walls of buildings consultation; a key pillar of which is to consider lowering the catchment of the 2018 Regulations from 18 metres down to 11 metres.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the consultation was extended into the summer and we await any further legislative announcements. However, commentators are strongly anticipating the lowering of the eligibility criteria. It is suspected that hotel buildings will be removed from the exemptions list and included in the bracket of buildings to become subject to the Regulations. Will such a hard-hit industry be able to cope with potentially costly building remedial works?

As the Grenfell Inquiry continues the focus this month has been on the workmanship behind the installation of cavity barriers on the Tower; with the project manager of the cladding subcontractor personally describing the workmanship as “sloppy”!

The ongoing inquiry is probing the possibility that not only were the cladding materials flammable but possibly the quality of the installation heightened their flammability.

Although speculative at present, if proven the predicted reforms will certainly widen the catchment bracket for the buildings affected, but also on the number of buildings potentially requiring inspections to assess the installation of the cladding and cavity barriers.

For guidance on what to do if your commercial leasehold property is subject to the 2018 Regulations or future reforms, click here for a guide on your position.

For guidance on current or planned constructions projects that may be affected by future cladding reforms, contact Alex Smith.

Find out more about who holds responsibility for unsafe cladding and who has to foot the bill for its removal here.

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