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Understanding the UK Construction Plan for Unsafe Cladding

In 2017, cladding was found to be partially at fault for the tragic fire at Grenfell Tower, resulting in the death of 72 people. Panels made from plastic and aluminium were installed at Grenfell Tower to keep the building warm and dry. Later, it was discovered that these materials helped the flames spread after the fire broke out. After the Grenfell tragedy, the government announced a £5 billion investment to make building structures safer.

Earlier this year, the government announced a five-point plan to end unsafe cladding, which includes the following:

  1. The government will completely pay for the removal of unsafe cladding in all residential buildings in England that are 18 metres tall or more.
  2. A government-backed, long-term, low-interest financing arrangement will help buildings between 11 and 18 metres tall pay for cladding removal.
  3. A new tax will raise at least £2 billion over 10 years to ensure that the largest property developers contribute to the removal process.
  4. A new safety regime will be created to reduce the risk of incidents like the Grenfell Tower fire from occurring.
  5. Confidence in the housing market, including that of lenders and surveyors, will increase.

Many construction firms are aware of the construction errors surrounding the Grenfell tragedy and believe it has sparked a major change in the way projects are carried out today. In the years since the tragedy, many organisations within the construction industry have had significant transitions in behaviours, awareness and competence. One of the largest and most important developments has been increased understanding of the issue.

Although these new regulations come with a more complex protocol system, the changes will help firms take responsibility and deliver clear, accessible information concerning responsibilities and approval of materials for the design, construction and occupation of high-risk buildings so they can prevent future tragedies. Given the seriousness of this issue and the severity of potential consequences, it’s important for organisations to take the time to fully educate themselves on the subject.

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