Responding to building safety announcements by Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick recently, the Local Government Association’s building safety spokesman Lord Porter, said:
“It is good that the Government is looking at lowering the height requirement at which combustible cladding is banned on new buildings and accepted our call to ensure that building safety reforms protect residents in all vulnerable buildings, such as hospitals, residential schools and care homes.
“The LGA has long-warned about the need for building safety reforms to avoid creating a two-tier building safety system which leaves buildings under 18 metres vulnerable and unprotected. The height of a building does not provide any indication about the risk to its safety, as has been proven by recent dangerous fires in buildings below 18 metres.
“We are also pleased the Secretary of State has said he is minded to lower the height at which sprinklers are required in new buildings, which is currently too high at 30 metres, as this is something the LGA has also called for. Height alone should not determine whether sprinklers should be fitted, as some buildings, such as care homes, house particularly vulnerable people and we urge the Government to make this change as quick as possible and fund the retrofitting of sprinklers using a risk-based approach.
“People need to be able to sleep safely at night in their homes. Councils continue to do all they can to protect residents and ensure private landlords quickly act to make their buildings safe and the LGA is working with MHCLG to support council enforcement against those who fail to act through the Joint Inspection Team.
“ACM is not the only cladding system that poses a risk to residents and the Government needs to come forward urgently with funding to support the removal of HPL (High Pressure Laminate) and other dangerous systems. It is also important that councils and fire and rescue services are given a leading role in ensuring any new building safety system works and we stand ready to work with the HSE and the Government to deliver the much-needed reform to ensure residents are safe and feel safe.