New code of practice for assessing cladding

New code of practice for assessing cladding

9:30 AM, 28th April 2021, About 3 years ago 7

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Residents and building owners are set to benefit from a new code of practice for professionals assessing buildings’ external walls and cladding systems. As part of reform of the building sector, the government has commissioned the British Standards Institution (BSI) to draft a new code of practice for assessors when examining external walls and cladding.

This will ensure external wall assessments are carried out to a high and consistent standard, giving building owners clarity on the fire risk of the construction of external walls.

The code of practice will help professionals provide consistent, risk-based and proportionate advice on whether remediation of the external walls is necessary.

Building Safety Minister Lord Greenhalgh said: “As part of the biggest improvements to building safety standards in 40 years, we are taking firm action to ensure homes and buildings are safer.

“This includes investing over £5 billion to help protect hundreds of thousands of leaseholders from the cost of replacing unsafe cladding on their homes.

“I welcome the launch of this consultation on a new code of practice, commissioned by government, which will ensure greater clarity and consistency for those completing assessments of external walls and a clear steer on where remediation is, or is not, required.”

Scott Steedman, Director-General of Standards at BSI said: “BSI, in its role as the UK National Standards Body, has opened a public consultation on the proposed new code of practice to support building professionals to undertake fire risk appraisals and assessments of the external wall construction of existing multistorey, multi occupied residential buildings.

“We welcome all comments on the draft standard, especially from people living or working on or in these types of buildings, including residents and people from the construction, fire, housing and safety industries.

“The consultation closes on 20 May 2021 and we aim to publish the standard in the autumn, after all comments have been reviewed by the expert steering group.”

Mark Hardingham, National Fire Chiefs Council Chair said: “We welcome this consultation on the new draft code of practice for assessors when examining external walls and cladding.

“To ensure that a wide range of views are considered before it is finalised, we want to encourage interested stakeholders to engage with it over the next few weeks.”

Further information

Once finalised later this year, the code of practice will supersede aspects of the consolidated advice note on external wall systems, originally published in January 2020.

View the consultation.

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16:29 PM, 28th April 2021, About 3 years ago

I trust the new code of practice will state that the EWS1 should not be insisted on for a mortgage if the property does not need one i.e. below 18m and with no cladding or balcony.

Our block does not require one, but I know many lenders are insisting on one. I suspect the freeholder/managing agent will try to put one in place... to make selling and re-mortgaging quicker and easier for the leaseholders... and charge the leaseholders an exorbitant fee for a suitably qualified 'mate' to do it.

Dennis Forrest

18:34 PM, 28th April 2021, About 3 years ago

Retrospective Building regulations are a bad thing. It is OK to say that all new builds below 18 metres at some future date should have completely incombustible cladding but very unfair and unreasonable to impose this burden on leaseholders with existing installations who will usually end up paying the full cost. Also unnecessary to make this legislation retrospective as fire appliances have ladders that will easily reach to 18 metres.
I don't think that Building Regs have ever been retrospective in the past, but if this is a new trend then where will this end? Retrospective legislation to update our electricity, plumbing and central heating systems?


10:20 AM, 1st May 2021, About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by at 28/04/2021 - 18:34
Rather than retrospective legislation what we need is enforcement against those that ignored the building regulations in force at the time.


12:16 PM, 1st May 2021, About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Badger at 01/05/2021 - 10:20I unreservedly support your sentiments however just this week the Tories voted to amend the Fire Safety Bill to protect those responsible and make leaseholders carry the burden for every historical building defect. That this is blatant support of Tory donor funders at the expense - literally and figuratively - of the innocent appears to have enjoyed scant exposure by the media. Another article on this forum ironically advertises a new scheme to make home building easier (and safer) for FTB's particularly. The fact that it is FTB's hardest hit by the financial burden of addressing building defects not of their fault and facing financial ruin as a result is conveniently ignored.
This cladding scandal has been woefully addressed by the UK government. It has choked the market, kept prisoner leaseholders who are unable to sell or rent, made banks skittish, birthed unsustainable increases in insurances, waking watch costs and a blackhole in the housing market of nil value homes and sinking rentals.
Instead of being compensated for a defective product, leaseholders are being exploited.
No other country has dealt with unsafe cladding in this repulsive manner.

Shining Wit

20:25 PM, 1st May 2021, About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Badger at 01/05/2021 - 10:20
No, what we need is a system the forces building owners to inspect (at leaseholders expense) the buildings to see how safe they are. Now arrange for the works to be carried out. Ensure that the managing agents add a management fee (say 15%), and add VAT at 20% on top of that.
Don’t give the leaseholders and say in what works are done, or which companies carry them out.

Now pass the entire bill onto the leaseholders – who, when they ‘bought their home’ carried out all possible due diligence checks to ensure everything was safe and secure.

Obviously, charge the leaseholders for the work BEFORE you do anything, threaten forfeiture to any lease holder that doesn’t pay up, in full, in a couple of weeks – but don’t actually start the work until all the money has been collected (ie after the legal actions have been completed).

If a leaseholder does forfeit their lease, they are still liable for the outstanding service charge sums, and they still owe the outstanding mortgage (despite not having a home any more).

If the building has serious defects, employ a waking watch system – a couple of night-watchmen who sit on the fire escape stairs playing video games, while officially looking out for any fires and helping to evacuate the residents. Again, pass on the whole bill to the leaseholders, but don’t give them any say in what they are having to pay for.

Government relaxation of the regulations, followed by a failure to inspect and check, combined with unscrupulous practices of builders/developers and material manufacturers (saving money by not bothering with expensive safety works - eg proper fire-breaks - or actively selling materials that were KNOWN to be dangerous and entirely unfit for purpose respectively) can now be properly rewarded. Allow them to charge yet more money to fix faults/deliver the safe materials they should have been selling in the first place – and charging VAT on it all - seems entirely reasonable. Pass all the costs onto the leaseholders....

Leaseholders don’t own the buildings, they didn’t specify the materials, or skip the inspections. They had no part in any of the failings.
At the end of the lease the property reverts to the freeholder…

Can anyone think of a good reason why leaseholders shouldn’t pay for all the remediation? Surely they will all be able to find the necessary sixty or seventy THOUSAND pound bills.

Shared ownership?, No problem, pass the full share of costs on to the part owner.

Sounds reasonable, right?

It’s called the Fire Safety Bill – no protection for leaseholders from monstrous costs .

OK, there are a couple of government wheezes to offer limited help, so a subset of leaseholders, that are able to jump through all the hoops – but it isn’t part of the actual legislation, and it isn’t guaranteed. If the application fails, the full costs stay with the leaseholder.

I'll leave you to decide.


10:39 AM, 2nd May 2021, About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Shining Wit at 01/05/2021 - 20:25
Couldn't agree more.

It's a shocking state of affairs.


19:33 PM, 2nd May 2021, About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Shining Wit at 01/05/2021 - 20:25
The Tories voted in the amendment to the Fire Safety Bill last week legislating all the exploitation of the innocent you so cogently describe.
Developers are now protected by law from being responsible for historical building defects and have the right to demand the costs of rectifying their workmanship from their leaseholders.
In effect the Tories voted to protect their corrupt and complicit party funders and award them a multi billion pound tax funded fortune to continue providing suspect homes.
Those of us unfortunate enough to have bought homes in good faith, and the majority are by far FTB's realising the UK dream of getting on the property ladder, are now facing spiraling and unmanageable costs that the UK government deems our responsibility although it is their building regulations that resulted in this fiasco.
Ironically in another article on this forum MORE money is being offered to developers to assist FTB's onto the property ladder.
This is all too Kafkaesque for me.
And no other government in any other country has dealt with the cladding issue in this repulsive manner.
This is a scandal of monolithic proportion that does not receive enough exposure.
Millions trapped in unsafe homes, a blackhole created in the sales and rental market, nil value homes, skittish banks and elusive EWS1 certificates.
Instead of being compensated we're being charged.

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