ROCKWOOL welcomes the publication of Dame Judith Hackitt’s interim report, and we agree with her assessment that building regulations in England are not fit for purpose and require urgent change. We share Dame Judith’s view that regulation and guidance must be simple and unambiguous, and support her call for immediate industry action to increase safety.
We firmly believe that a simple and effective way to safeguard lives and property is to require that all mid- and high-rise as well as vulnerable and high-occupancy buildings be clad and insulated only with non-combustible (Euroclass A1 and A2) materials. This should be accompanied by a binary classification of cladding and insulation materials into combustible (Euroclasses B-F) and non-combustible (Euroclasses A1 and A2) categories, which would eliminate the risks associated with using laboratory tests that cannot recreate every real-world fire condition. Together these steps would eliminate the need for such testing altogether.
Despite Dame Judith’s clear commitment to ensuring public safety, we are highly concerned that the door remains open for the use of desktop studies. These studies rely upon theoretical projections of facade system behaviour in a fire, based on past data and consultants’ opinions. No other European country allows such studies as a route to compliance, and they have no place in a robust, transparent, and safety-focused regulatory framework.