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Combustible Cladding Risks That Developers and Landlords Must Consider

Barry Hembling, Partner in the construction and engineering team at Fladgate LLP, comments

Issues surrounding combustible cladding following the Grenfell Tower fire mean it is even more important for developers, landlords and investors to understand how buildings in their portfolios have been constructed. The focus to date has been on a type of cladding made of Aluminium Composite Material (ACM). Although ACM cladding is not in itself dangerous, it is important to ensure that the correct type of cladding has been used in combination with the correct filler material, or that certain types of ACM are only used on buildings up to six storeys.  

Recent attention has been on residential buildings, but the risks associated with combustible cladding are not unique to this area. Indeed, since the Grenfell Tower fire, at-risk cladding types have been found on hospitals, university accommodation buildings and schools and could have been used on offices, hotels and buildings in the leisure sector.

An update on the latest guidance
Part B of the Building Regulations covers fire safety and requires that in a building over six storeys above ground level, any insulation product or filler material used in external wall construction should be of limited combustibility or Class A2.1. Some have interpreted the Building Regulations as suggesting that a lower safety score of Class 0 (Euroclass B) for external surfaces for tall buildings is also acceptable.

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