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Ban on combustible materials needs to be extended following Bolton fire, says industry body

20 November 2019

Following the fire at the Bolton student accommodation block, the Fire Protection Association (FPA) has called for the ban on combustible cladding to be extended.

Much attention has been placed on building materials and their suitability for use in facilities of all types following the tragic Grenfell Tower fire and subsequent investigations.

Currently, however, the ban on combustible cladding only applies to buildings of more than 18m, or six storeys, in height.

As The Cube student accommodation facility was six storeys high, it was deemed to be outside of the scope of the new regulations.

"Clearly, we should not limit regulations to the mere height of a building," the FPA statement said.

The association further stated that the latest fire "provides a stark reminder that the problem facing UK fire safety is the result of many issues and not just Grenfell-style ACM cladding".

It is calling for the suitability of timber cladding components to be considered, which it says played a large part in Bolton fire's progress.

"High pressure laminate (HPL) cladding has been talked about to some degree, but no doubt thorough and investigations and consideration have been hampered by it being the focus of a major incident - until now," said the FPA.

Association managing director Jonathan O'Neill said the fire in Bolton and those in Worcester Park, London and the Beechmere care village in Cheshire "prove we cannot be housing people in buildings made from combustible materials.

"This issue needs to be addressed urgently; it simply cannot wait.

"We urge this issue to be a priority for the new government," said Mr O'Neill.


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