A co-ordinated national response to the fire at Grenfell Tower.
The government’s Building Safety Programme
The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) has established the Building Safety Programme to cover high-rise residential buildings over 18 metres, including hotels, to make sure that residents of high rise buildings are safe - and feel safe - now, and in the future.
With the support of local fire and rescue services and a panel of independent expert advisers, MHCLG is supporting building owners in taking immediate steps to ensure their residents’ safety and in making decisions on any remedial work that is necessary to do.
The programme is working with building owners, housing providers, schools, hospitals and the construction industry, including an Industry Response Group.
Independent expert advisory panel
Following the Grenfell Tower fire in June 2017, the government appointed an expert panel, chaired by Sir Ken Knight, to advise the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, on immediate measures needed to ensure building safety and to help identify buildings of concern. On 5 September the panel’s remit was extended and widened to include other building safety issues.
The panel’s members have a wealth of experience in fire and building safety, including testing processes, and are drawing in wider technical expertise as necessary to inform their advice to government.
The government is aware that local authorities and other building owners are also seeking clarification of actions they should take in relation to buildings with other external wall systems. The expert panel will consider these issues after the systems tests are addressed.
See details of the independent expert advisory panel’s work.
Advice for building owners on external wall systems with ACM cladding
Shortly after the fire at Grenfell Tower, the independent expert advisory panel advised the government to undertake identification screening of residential buildings over 18 metres tall (in accordance with building regulations guidance on rain-screen cladding). This is in order to identify the type of aluminium composite material (ACM) used.
Those checking tests began at the Building Research Establishment (BRE) the following week.
On 6 July 2017, having also spoken to a group of technical experts from a wide range of professions and organisations, the expert panel recommended further large scale testing of cladding systems. This was to better understand better how different types of ACM panels behave with different types of insulation in a fire (these tests can be used to show compliance with the building regulations guidance).
These large scale tests, undertaken by the BRE, looked at 3 different types of ACM cladding combined with different types of insulation, in accordance with British Standard 8414. This involved building a 9-metre high demonstration wall with a complete cladding system fixed to it - including panels and insulation. This was then subjected to a fire designed to replicate the circumstances in which a severe fire breaks out of a window. The spreads of the fire up the outside wall, if any, was then monitored.
See the final consolidated advice after all the tests.
Additional fire test reports on other cladding combinations in accordance with British Standard 8414 can be found on the BRE website.
Information for building owners on what measures to take to make buildings with ACM cladding systems safe
The Industry Response Group was established by government in June 2017 to advise on immediate steps to ensure building safety. It complements the work of the Expert Panel.
In consultation with the Industry Response Group, independent expert advisory panel, building owners, and other experts, the government has developed an information note to assist building owners in considering what measures to take to make buildings safe - and how they could carry out remedial works on high rise residential buildings with ACM cladding.
Action for private sector residential landlords
It is the responsibility of building owners in the private residential sector to carry out necessary measures to ensure the safety of their residents.
Since June, the government has been urging owners of private residential buildings over 18 metres to make urgent use of the free ACM screening tests, and to report the results to local authorities so that private sector blocks with ACM cladding systems can be identified.
We are also working with local authorities to identify privately owned residential buildings over 18 metres with ACM cladding systems. Financial support to local authorities for the work needed to collect data on high rise residential buildings and report on cladding was provided in line with the new burdens doctrine.
Work to reach private sector landlords continues - through industry bodies including the Home Builders Federation, Association of Residential Letting Agents, and the British Property Federation.
Advice for leaseholders affected by fire safety activity
Leaseholders can access specialist advice to understand their rights through the Leasehold Advisory Service (LEASE). The Secretary of State announced on 4 December 2017 that the government is allocating additional funding to LEASE to provide dedicated support for leaseholders affected by fire safety activities. Read more information on LEASE, including how to contact them for advice.
Financial information for local authorities and housing associations.
Building owners are responsible for funding fire safety measures in their buildings, and should draw on their existing resources to do so.
We will consider the removal of financial restrictions for local authorities where these stand in the way of essential work being done. This does not include general improvements or enhancements to buildings which go beyond this.
In line with their co-regulatory obligations, any housing association that has concerns about its ability to meet the necessary costs must contact the social housing regulator as soon as possible to discuss the matter.
The government will keep these arrangements under review.
Independent review of building regulations and fire safety by Dame Judith Hackitt
An independent review of building regulations and fire safety is being led by Dame Judith Hackitt. Its purpose is to make recommendations that will ensure:
- a sufficiently robust regulatory system for the future
- residents feel that the buildings they live in are safe and remain so
It will examine building and fire safety regulations and related compliance and enforcement. The focus will be on multi-occupancy high rise residential buildings.
Advice for building owners on wider building safety issues
In consultation with the Independent Expert Advisory Panel, MHCLG has also provided advice to building owners about common non-ACM external wall systems, including ones using Metal Composite Materials, High Pressure Laminates (HPL) or External Wall Insulation (EWI) with a render or brick-slip finish.
We have issued advice to local authorities who own large panel systems or Larsen Neilson buildings.
Data on the Building Safety Progamme
MHCLG collects and holds information about residential buildings over 18 metres in England (including hotels and student accommodation) and some buildings owned by the public sector, in particular those which have Aluminium Composite Material (ACM) cladding.
The data enables the department to formulate a policy response to the discovery of what appears to be unsafe cladding on a number of buildings in the immediate aftermath of the Grenfell Tower fire and to assure itself and its stakeholders that fire safety risks (including cladding and any other significant risks identified) to these buildings are being managed. Where this includes personal data, MHCLG is the data controller.
Aggregate data related to the Building Safety Programme are published at regular intervals. The data release has a particular focus on buildings identified with ACM cladding by tenure and remediation progress. Data releases can be found below.
- Data update 9 - Building Safety Programme: monthly data release - March 2018 - 28 March 2018
- Data update 8 - Building Safety Programme: monthly data release - February 2018 - 27 February 2018
- Data update 7 - Building Safety Programme: monthly data release - January 2018 - 22 January 2018
- Data update 6 - Building Safety Programme: monthly data release - December 2017 - 18 December 2017
- Data update 5 - Secretary of state letter to Members of Parliament - 25 October 2017
- Data update 4 - Update and consolidated advice for building owners following large-scale testing - 5 September 2017
- Data update 3 - Secretary of state oral statement to parliament on Grenfell Tower - 5 September 2017
- Data update 2 - Sajid Javid’s statement on the government response to the Grenfell Tower tragedy - 20 July 2017
- Data update 1 - Cladding sample testing update - 25 June 2017
- Announcement 20 - Fire safety advice unchanged after issue identified with fire door - 15 March 2018
- Announcement 19 - Grenfell Tower and building safety - Secretary of State’s oral statement to Parliament - 18 December 2017
- Announcement 18 - Secretary of State’s oral statement to Parliament on Grenfell Tower - 5 September 2017
- Announcement 17 - Government completes large-scale fire safety testing programme - 25 August 2017
- Announcement 16 - Latest large-scale government fire safety test result published - 21 August 2017
- Announcement 15 - Second wall cladding system passes latest government fire safety test - 14 August 2017
- Announcement 14 - Latest government large scale fire safety test results published - 11 August 2017
- Announcement 13 - Further results published from government’s fire testing programme - 8 August 2017
- Announcement 12 - Government fire safety testing programme continues - 2 August 2017
- Announcement 11 - First systems test reaffirms actions for landlords - 28 July 2017
- Announcement 10 - Independent review of building regulations and fire safety - 28 July 2017
- Announcement 9 - Sajid Javid’s statement on the government response to the Grenfell Tower tragedy - 20 July 2017
- Announcement 8 - Ensure that recladding work meets building regulations advises expert panel - 14 July 2017
- Announcement 7 - New industry group to ensure construction sector ready to meet building challenges after Grenfell Tower - 10 July 2017
- Announcement 6 - Expert panel recommends further tests on cladding and insulation - 6 July 2017
- Announcement 5 - Expert panel on safety meets for the first time - 30 June 2017
- Announcement 4 - Statement from the independent expert advisory panel - 30 June 2017
- Announcement 3 - Expert panel appointed to advise on immediate safety action following Grenfell fire - 27 June 2017
- Announcement 2 - Cladding sample testing update - 25 June 2017
- Announcement 1 - Homes and Communities Agency ready to provide support or advice on testing ACM cladding - 20 June 2017
- Letter 18 - to local authority and housing association chief executives providing information on the investigation into fire doors - 15 March 2018
- Letter 17 - to the Local Government Association on government support for identification of private sector buildings - 1 March 2018
- Letter 16 - to local authority chief executives: New Burdens Assessment update - 19 October 2017
- Letter 15 - to private residential building owners requesting information about their buildings - 19 October 2017
- Letter 14 - about identifying all residential tower blocks with ACM cladding - legal clarification - 8 October 2017
- Letter 13 - to local authorities on wind-loading calculation for cladding - 5 September 2017
- Letter 12 - to local authorities and housing associations on the safety of large panel system buildings - 5 September 2017
- Letter 11 - to local authorities on identifying all residential tower blocks with ACM cladding: follow up guidance - 5 September 2017
- Letter 10 - to local authorities on the safety of their large panel system buildings with piped gas - 18 August 2017
- Letter 9 - to local authority chief executives on identifying all residential tower blocks with ACM cladding - 11 August 2017
- Letter 8 - to local authorities on the safety of large panel system buildings with piped gas - 11 August 2017
- Letter 7 - to local authorities on recladding of tall buildings - 13 July 2017
- Letter 6 - to permanent secretaries public sector estate safety checks - 28 June 2017
- Letter 5 - to local authorities and housing associations on safety checks following the Grenfell Tower fire - 22 June 2017
- Letter 4 - to owners, landlords and managers of private residential blocks on safety checks on private residential blocks - 21 June 2017
- Letter 3 - to all registered providers on health and safety - 20 June 2017
- Letter 2 - to local authorities on safety checks following the Grenfell Tower fire: further guidance - 19 June 2017
- Letter 1 - to local authorities and housing associations on safety checks following the Grenfell Tower fire - 18 June 2017
Information note for building owners
- Information note 1 - Information note for landlords and building owners of tall residential buildings with ACM cladding
- Advice note 15 - Advice published by the independent expert advisory panel in response to the publication of Dame Judith Hackitt’s interim report - 18 December 2017
- Advice note 14 - Advice for building owners: external wall systems that do not incorporate ACM - 11 December 2017
- Advice note 13 - Advice for building owners: External Wall Insulation (EWI) systems with a render or brick-slip finish - 11 December 2017
- Advice note 12 - Update on interim mitigation measures required pending remediation of cladding - 29 September 2017
- Advice note 11 - Update and consolidated advice for building owners following large-scale testing - 5 September 2017
- Advice note 10 - Advice for building owners: large-scale wall system test 6 - 25 August 2017
- Advice note 9 - Advice for building owners: large-scale wall system test 7 - 21 August 2017
- Advice note 8 - Advice for building owners: large-scale wall system test 5 - 14 August 2017
- Advice note 7 - Advice for building owners: large-scale wall system test 4 - 11 August 2017
- Advice note 6 - Advice for building owners: large-scale wall system test 3 - 8 August 2017
- Advice note 5 - Advice for building owners: large-scale wall system test 2 - 2 August 2017
- Advice note 4 - Advice for building owners: large-scale wall system test 1 - 28 July 2017
- Advice note 3 - Explanatory note on large scale cladding systems testing - 20 July 2017
- Advice note 2 - Advice on recladding - 14 July 2017
- Advice note 1 - Explanatory note on safety checks and testing - 30 June 2017