After months of confusing mixed messages from industry professionals, many flat owners have complained that they still don’t know whether the cladding on their building is safe or needs replacing.
Following the Grenfell Tower tragedy in 2017, the UK government has insisted that all mid-high-rise buildings are formally examined to decide whether the external cladding used during construction is safe or not, thus dictating whether the cladding must be replaced.
Specially trained assessors have been tasked with carrying out the checks, a process which is taking a very long time to complete as the demand for checks far outweighs the number of qualified people who can conduct them.
To make things worse, the feedback owners have received has been very confusing and often contradictory.
Today, it was announced that the “government has launched a consultation on its new post-Grenfell code for external wall assessments and cladding systems to help surveyors give consistent advice on whether a building needs remedial work or not”.
It has left many wondering why this measure was not taken from the very beginning of the process.
The new code is being developed by the British Standards Institution (BSI) and will ensure external wall assessments are carried out to a “high and consistent standard” in order to provide absolute clarity on fire risk of existing cladding, plus advice on what steps, if any, must be taken.
Building Safety Minister, Lord Greenhalgh, said:“As part of the biggest improvements to building safety standards in 40 years, we are taking firm action to ensure homes and buildings are safer. This includes investing over £5 billion to help protect hundreds of thousands of leaseholders from the cost of replacing unsafe cladding on their homes.”
Director-General of Standards at BSI, Scott Steedman, says:
“We welcome all comments on the draft standard, especially from people living or working on or in these types of buildings, including residents and people from the construction, fire, housing and safety industries.”