Cladding announcement does not go far enough, says firefighters’ union

The government’s announcement of a partial ban on the future use of some flammable cladding does not go far enough, according to the Fire Brigades Union.

Matt Wrack FBU general secretary said:

“This is not the outright ban on combustible cladding that firefighters have been calling for. The Westminster government continues to allow cladding of limited combustibility for any building work in the future. The FBU called for a universal ban on these flammable materials.

“These measures do not deal with the existing cladding on nearly 500 buildings across England where people live and work every day. The government’s proposals only apply to buildings over 18 metres high, plus hospitals, care homes and student accommodation – when they should apply to all buildings, whatever their height or use. They continue to allow A2 materials, when they should permit only the highest standard of A1”. *

James Brokenshire’s announcement at Tory party conference comes as the bereaved, survivors and residents begin to give their testimony to the Grenfell Tower Inquiry this week.

Wrack said:

“This announcement is designed for political convenience, not for thoroughgoing change. The failings in the fire safety regime are far wider than just the materials used. The whole deregulated system and weak guidance needs to be overhauled.

“Fire authorities and local councils need to be fully funded to carry out fire safety inspections now and in the future. The government must change the law to ensure firefighters and tenants are consulted on safety matters in homes. The government must fund a national independent programme of research into building materials and government-run testing regime for materials.

“Many residents of high rise residential buildings and firefighters wanted more comprehensive action taken against flammable cladding. This government has failed to deliver.”

*Class A1 - Products are described as having no contribution to fire at any stage. Typical products meeting this classification include most inorganic materials such as metal, stone, and glass.
Class A2 – Products are described as having no significant contribution to fire at any stage. A typical product meeting this classification is plasterboard.

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