The government yesterday published tough new rules regarding fire safety testing on residential buildings for consultation, casting doubt on the future of desktop studies.
The recent announcement by Housing Secretary Sajid Javid comes in the wake of the Grenfell Tower fire last June, which seriously called into question current building safety regulations.
There is currently no need for a physical test to prove a building complies with fire safety regulations, with many organisations opting to carry out a desktop study instead. Such tests are a recognised method for classifying the fire performance of construction products and systems (set out in paragraph 1b of Annex A of Approved Document B) but this could soon be set to change.
An interim report into building regulations and fire safety by Dame Judith Hackitt criticised the reliability of desktop studies, branding them “not properly managed”.
Sajid Javid has also signalled that their use may be “significantly restricted or banned altogether” in direct response to the interim report, which could significantly impact the way that companies carry out safety tests.
The consultation is seeking views on whether ‘desktop studies’ are appropriate for all construction products, wall systems (cladding) or for any other purpose. The deadline for consultation responses is 25 May.
The link to the consultation can be found here