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It has been announced by Housing Secretary James Brokenshire that combustible cladding is to be banned for all new schools, hospitals, care homes, student accommodation and residential buildings in England above 18m (60ft).

The policy will cover cladding panels and insulation and will apply to all new buildings and those currently under construction.  However, it will not be applied retrospectively to buildings where the materials have already been fitted.

The move comes 15 months after Grenfell Tower fire, which claimed 72 lives, where flammable cladding was blamed for the rapid spread of the blaze.

The aim is to bring about a “change in culture on building safety”.

Currently, building regulations in the UK state all insulation and filler materials for cladding on high-rise buildings must be of “limited combustibility”.

The only materials that will now be allowed are those classed as A1 or A2 under the European Reaction to Fire classification system, which includes materials such as metal, stone and glass which rarely contribute to fires, or plasterboard, which makes no significant contribution.

Sotech is aware of the proposed changes to building regulations and has been tracking the developments closely. As such, the news that came out over the weekend is as expected and Sotech has been working to suit the requirements when necessary.

Sotech is a leading manufacturer in metal based rainscreens in the UK has always had a forward-thinking approach to materials, supply chain and manufacture.

Sotech have been fire testing to BR135 (BS8414) standards since 2006 and have been continuing the fire testing routines extensively again since Q4 2017.

We are currently testing in the UK and Middle East on a number of projects at request of the developers and clients. We also facilitate and encourage project specific testing on all materials and systems used on buildings over 18m (60ft) to provide proven assurances on the compliance of the build ups to both our partners and the end user.

To cope with the demand for more solid products Sotech have recently invested in advanced panel manufacturing machinery to allow us to continue to lead the way in Rainscreen production. This new ground-breaking machinery will be operational from Q1 2019.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding this story, please contact Graham Todd 


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