Interim Grenfell Inquiry Falls Short of Ban on Combustible Claddings on High-Rise Buildings

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January 30, 2018
Grenfell Tower fire, June 2017. Shutterstock photo.

The interim report from the building regulations review ordered by the British Parliament following the deadly Grenfell Tower fire has fallen short of taking a stance on banning combustible claddings on high-rise buildings. “This means we continue with this grey-area in regards to fire-safety,” said Jane Duncan, immediate past president of the Royal Institute of British Architects and chair of RIBAs Expert Advisory Group on Fire Safety.

Dame Judith Hackitt, a chemical engineer, led the review and issued her report on December 18. She did call for a complete overhaul of the construction industry, finding that the system is “not fit for purpose.” The report called for an end to cost-cutting on materials—the practice in which the building designed is not the one that’s built, which is thought to have been a major factor in the fatal fire’s rapid spread.

RIBA is calling for the final report, which is due in the spring, to require a named person or organization to be held accountable for the oversight of fire safety in the design and construction of a building project. It also has called for introduction of immediate changes to Approved Document B, the current fire safety guidelines, to ban flammable claddings on high-rise buildings. In the U.S., such aluminum composite panels as were installed on the Grenfell Tower are illegal in buildings over 40 feet in height.

— NY Times, Guamsite.com, and Durability + Design