The consultation, which was announced by the Housing Secretary, Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP in June this year, closed on 14 August 2018.
In essence, Tenos supports tighter controls to ensure competent design, approval and construction of external cladding, but does not support a ban that has been proposed.
Tenos’ view is that an external wall and cladding system that has been tested to BS 8414 and meet the BR135 classification criteria can be safe provided the system is specified, installed and maintained correctly. There appears to be, as yet, no evidence in the public domain in relation to fires involving these cladding systems which would demonstrate otherwise. However, even the best systems will not perform properly or behave as intended if they are not installed and maintained in the correct manner. If the construction industry (clients, designers, contractors and approvers) can work together to ensure that BR135 compliant systems are specified, designed and installed properly including with the appropriate fire break/cavity barrier protection then an outright ban on the use of combustible materials would not be appropriate. Where this can’t be achieved then, in higher risk buildings, or those buildings with a vulnerable population, it would be prudent to remove any uncertainties arising from workmanship and maintenance issues and allow only external wall systems that are composed entirely of materials achieving A2 or better in the European Classification system.