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Prescription in English Fire Regulation: Treatment, Cure or Placebo?

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Original languageEnglish
JournalProceedings of the ICE - Forensic Engineering
Early online date8 Aug 2019
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 8 Aug 2019


This paper presents a discussion of the recent “ban” on combustible cladding that has been implemented in England following the Grenfell Tower fire. The “ban” is discussed in terms of its context within the existing regulatory system in England and is analysed in terms of the intended and unintended consequences. Key intended consequences are identified as: the prohibition of “Grenfell type” cladding; the “banning” of desktop studies for relevant buildings; and the ban of some forms of engineered timber construction. Unintended consequences include: the devaluation of private leaseholder’s homes; the potential for the problems with the construction industry to be perceived as “fixed”; and a raft of somewhat absurd administrative effects. We conclude that the ban has likely been effective in its overall aim but that its success is, ironically, inherently bound up with the efficacy of the very regulations that it was intended to fix. We also identify that the new “ban” is potentially susceptible to “gaming” by unscrupulous parties within the construction industry.

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