Insurers call for end to fire-risk cladding refurbs

The Association of British Insurers is demanding for an end to the use of combustible cladding and a total revamp of the Building Regulations.

The insurance trade body made its demands in a submission to the ongoing review of fire safety and building codes led by Dame Judith Hackitt in the wake of the Grenfell Tower tragedy.

The ABI has called for:

  • An immediate end to the use of combustible materials on the outside of new and refurbished buildings and strictly limiting the use of combustible material on the inside.
  • Development of more robust testing regimes to prove materials are not combustible, and to replicate how these materials are used in real world conditions.
  • Much more clarity on the roles and responsibilities of all those involved in managing the fire safety of a building.
  • Improving fire protection measures including mandating the installation of fire sprinklers for new schools, care homes and warehouses over 2000m2  – a call the ABI first made in 2016.

ABI Director of General Insurance Policy, James Dalton, said: “It is time to end the outdated fire safety regulation of buildings that are putting lives at risk.

“Grenfell represents a systemic failure of the protection of buildings from fire in this country.

“The ABI has been calling for changes to buildings regulations since 2009 that would improve fire safety and it is terribly sad it took such a tragic event to bring about change.

“This review marks a seminal opportunity to recommend substantial change that will fundamentally improve fire safety in England’s buildings, but also, as a consequence, make these buildings more commercially attractive risks to insurers, increasing competitiveness and benefitting customers through an associated effect on premiums.” 

Government tests on 278 towers fitted with aluminium cladding material cladding found that only 12 passed fire safety checks.