Combustible materials: An extended ban from 1 December 2022

In 2018, the use of combustible materials was banned for external walls in residential buildings over 18m (including hospitals, care homes and student accommodation). This ban has now been extended by the Building (Amendment) (England) Regulations 2022, which come into force on 1 December 2022, and means the ban will apply to:

  • new buildings;
  • existing buildings where there are material alterations; and
  • buildings which, following a change of use, the regulations apply to.

These regulations also introduce new bans on the following:

  • “metal composite material” with an unmodified polyethylene core in external walls of all buildings, regardless of height;
  • combustible materials on hostels, hotels, and boarding houses over 18m; and
  • combustible materials on balconies, solar panels and solar shading devices attached to external walls in residential buildings over 18m.

It is worth noting that the changes brought about by these regulations will not apply to existing buildings or schemes where an initial notice, building notice or full plans have been deposited before the regulations come into force and where the works are already underway (or are starting within 6 months of 1 December 2022).

In addition to extending the ban, the regulations will recommend that:

  • flat blocks over 11m have a secure information box (containing building details for use by the fire services during an incident); and
  • flat blocks over 18m have an evacuation alert system (to help the fire and rescue services alert residents to any change in an evacuation strategy).

The regulations come into force on 1 December 2022 following a consultation in 2020. A link to the government response to this consultation can be found here.

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