Although details are in short supply, ROCKWOOL welcomes Housing Minister Dominic Raab’s commitment to ban the use of combustible materials in cladding systems on high-rise residential buildings. There are also important elements in Dame Judith Hackitt’s recommendations to simplify the current confusing system of building and fire safety regulations, particularly ensuring unambiguous responsibility for what type of materials goes on tall buildings. Together these steps represent notable progress towards creating safer buildings in the wake of the Grenfell fire.
As it works through the details, we strongly encourage the government to ensure focus on full façade systems including the insulation as well as cladding. In the same way, it’s extremely important that the scope extends beyond only high-rise residential buildings, but to include as well, all high-rise (above 18m) and high-risk buildings such as schools, hospitals, care facilities and other building types that might require longer evacuation times.
Regarding the risks fires pose, ROCKWOOL believes that the best way to ensure public safety in high-rise and high-risk buildings is to require that only non-combustible cladding and insulation be installed; that they be fitted with automatic fire sprinklers; and that all new buildings of these types have alternative escape routes. These are straightforward, common-sense steps that can be promptly implemented and that would have a profoundly positive impact on public safety.