Insurers warn cladding ban does not go far enough
The Association of British Insurers (ABI) has warned plans for a combustible cladding ban, in the wake of the Grenfell Tower tragedy, do not go far enough.
Speaking at the Fire Protection Association’s Fire Summit 2018 in London, the ABI’s Director of General Insurance Policy, James Dalton, said government plans to ban the use of combustible materials for all new high-rise residential buildings taller than 18 metres, “runs the risk of unnecessarily limiting the public safety benefits” that the proposals are supposed to achieve in the first place.
The plans were originally announced by the Housing Secretary, James Brokenshire at the Conservative party conference last month.
The Government is also proposing to ban the use of the cladding in new hospitals, registered care homes and student accommodation.
Mr Dalton told conference delegates he was “struggling to understand” how someone could build a care home or student accommodation in the future that is slightly shorter than 18 metres in height and then still cover it in combustible material.
“Put simply, combustible material does not belong on high-risk buildings housing the most vulnerable in society,” he told the conference.
“It doesn’t make sense that someone could live in a high-rise residential building to which the ban applied but commute to work every day in an office block which is covered in combustible material,” added Mr Dalton.
“Nor for a child to go from their parents flat to which the ban applied to attend school in a building that is wrapped in combustible material.
“Of course, I recognise the Government’s view that there is a higher risk where people are sleeping, and there are more stringent rules on evacuation for commercial properties, but why are hotels not covered by the ban on the use of combustible material?”
“We need to step back and consider what ‘combustible’ should mean and be radical in our thinking to effectively protect all buildings and people at risk.
“Our concerns are clearly reflected in a letter from Steve Reed MP and 20 other MPs to Secretary of State arguing that the ban on combustible material does not go far enough,” he added.
Last month, the Head of Policy and Public Affairs at IOSH, Richard Jones, called for the ban to be widened.
Mr Jones warned that while banning the use of combustible materials on new high-rise residential buildings is “a step in the right direction”, it still does not go far enough.
SHP Online is the UK's leading website for health and safety professionals. The essential resource for practitioners to keep up to date with the latest news, legislation and CPD.
3 reasons you should sign up:
- Have the best safety resources sent straight to your inbox
- Access top safety job picks daily
- See the latest safety innovations to hit the market
Subscribe to our daily newsletter with news, features, interviews and more.