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Government and NFCC call for comments on external walls Code of Practice

04 May 2021

RESIDENTS AND building owners are set to benefit from a new Code of Practice specifically designed by the Government for those professionals tasked with assessing buildings’ external walls and cladding systems. Both the Government and the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) are now calling for as many interested parties as possible to deliver their considered views on the proposed content.

As part of an ambitious reform agenda for the building sector, and as recently reported by Fire Safety Matters, the Government has commissioned the British Standards Institution (BSI) to draft a new Code of Practice for ensuring that external wall assessments are carried out to a high and consistent standard, in turn affording building owners absolute clarity on the fire risk posed by the construction of external walls.

The Code of Practice will help professionals provide consistent, risk-based and proportionate advice on whether any remediation of external walls is necessary.

Speaking about the move, Building Safety Minister Lord Greenhalgh stated: “As part of the biggest improvements to building safety standards initiated in 40 years, we’re taking firm action to ensure that 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.”

Greenhalgh continued: “I welcome the launch of this consultation on a new Code of Practice, commissioned by the Government, which will ensure greater clarity and consistency for those individuals tasked with completing assessments of external walls, duly affording them a clear steer on where remediation is or isn’t required.”

Scott Steedman, director general of standards at the BSI, responded: “In its role as the UK’s national standards body, the BSI has opened a public consultation on the proposed new Code of Practice to support building professionals in undertaking fire risk appraisals and assessments of the external wall construction of existing multi-storey, multi-occupied residential buildings. We welcome all comments on the draft standard, especially so from those people living or working on or in these types of buildings, including residents and individuals from the construction, fire, housing and safety industries.”

The consultation process closes on Thursday 20 May, with the aim being to publish the new standard in the autumn after all comments received have been reviewed and thoroughly evaluated by the appointed expert Steering Group.

Mark Hardingham, who has just taken office as the new chair at the National Fire Chiefs Council, explained: “We welcome this Government consultation process 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’s finalised, we want to encourage interested stakeholders to engage with the consultation across the next few weeks.”

*For further information and to take part in the consultation process access the BSI website