Scottish Government announces ban on combustible cladding for high-rise buildings

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The Scottish Government must ban builders from using combustible cladding on high-rise buildings following the Grenfell Tower fire.

Ministers have tabled legislation at Holyrood which will ban the use of such materials on buildings with floors 11 meters (36ft) or more above the ground.

Building Standards Minister Patrick Harvie said the move, combined with recent fire alarm legislation, would help reduce the number of people killed or injured in fires.

The new legislation will cover apartments and other domestic properties, hospitals, nursing homes, places of entertainment and recreation and buildings “used as a place of assembly”.

The changes come in the wake of the Grenfell Tower fire in London in 2017, in which more than 70 people died after the fire spread rapidly due to cladding that had been installed on the outside of buildings of great height.

Since 2005, cladding used on high-rise buildings in Scotland had to feature non-combustible materials or pass a full-scale fire test.

But new building standards legislation removes the possibility of a fire test, completely banning these materials in buildings with floors above 11 metres.

On top of that, the most at-risk metal composite cladding material will be banned from any new buildings of any height, with replacement cladding required to meet the new standards.

Harvie said: “This is the third set of changes to fire safety standards for cladding in Scotland since the tragic fire at Grenfell Tower, requiring that any cladding on domestic or other high risk buildings more than 11 meters is strictly incombustible.

“Combined with our new fire alarm regulations, covering all homes in Scotland regardless of ownership, this is a further step in the Scottish Government’s mission to minimize the risk of death and injury from fire. .”

The legislation will also bring improvements to energy performance standards, aimed at making buildings easier to heat while ensuring they are well ventilated and comfortable to live in.

Harvie said: “Energy retrofits will be another important step towards improving the energy and emissions performance of our buildings, and we will take this a step further in 2024 with regulations requiring new buildings to use zero-emission heating.

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