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Cladding fire safety ‘desktop studies’ face ban

12 April 2018 | By Neil Gerrard

The proposed ban on desktop studies comes in the wake of the Grenfell Tower fire (Image: Wikimedia Commons)

The government is set to ban “desktop studies” as a way of assessing the fire performance of external cladding, as part of what it claims are tough new rules to strengthen fire testing for the systems.

Housing secretary Sajid Javid published the proposed regulations for residential buildings yesterday, ahead of a consultation on the plans.

The revisions come after recommendations made by Dame Judith Hackitt in her interim report from the review into Building Regulations and fire safety published last year in the wake of the Grenfell Tower disaster.

The consultation will also seek views on whether desktop studies – assessments in lieu of a fire test – should be used at all and whether or not they are appropriate for construction products, wall systems, or for any other purpose.

If such studies are deemed appropriate, the proposed changes include improving 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.

The consultation is set to end on 25 May 2018.

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.”

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