Guidance

Building Safety Programme

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.

Fire test report ACM category and insulation type Advice note
Fire test report 1 - 28 July 2017 Category 3 - Foam Insulation Advice note 4 – Advice for building owners: large-scale wall system test 1 - 28 July 2017
Fire test report 2 - 3 August 2017 Category 3 – Mineral Wool Advice note 5 – Advice for building owners: large-scale wall system test 2 – 2 August 2017
Fire test report 3 - 8 August 2017 Category 2 – PIR foam Advice note 6 – Advice for building owners: large-scale wall system test 3 – 8 August 2017
Fire test report 4 - 11 August 2017 Category 2 – Mineral Wool Advice note 7 – Advice for building owners: large-scale wall system test 4 – 11 August 2017
Fire test report 5 - 14 August 2017 Category 1 – Foam Insulation Advice note 8 – Advice for building owners: large-scale wall system test 5 – 14 August 2017
Fire test report 6 - 25 August 2017 Category 1 – Mineral Wool Advice note 10 – Advice for building owners: large-scale wall system test 6 – 25 August 2017
Fire test report 7 - 21 August 2017 Category 2 – Phenolic Foam Advice note 9 – Advice for building owners: large-scale wall system test 7 – 21 August 2017

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 free initial 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 to ensure they are supported to understand the terms of their leases. Read more information on LEASE, including how to contact them for advice.

There are other specialists advisers who leaseholders might want to consult including:

  • Leasehold Knowledge Partnership (LKP) – an independent registered charity providing help for leaseholders on leasehold issues, including cladding. LKP also acts as secretariat to the All Party Parliamentary Group on Leasehold and Commonhold Reform.
  • specialist legal firms
  • financial advisers

There are also a number of other organisations or groups who leaseholders may want to consult including:

  • other leaseholders or residents’ groups in their building (may be able to provide information on the specifics of the situation and might be helpful in coordinating a response)
  • their managing agent, management company or landlord (will be able to provide information on fire safety of the building and provide a copy of the lease if not in possession)
  • Citizen’s Advice
  • First Tier Property Tribunal
  • their insurer (will be able to provide advice on how fire safety activities will affect their insurance)
  • their mortgage lender (will be able to provide information on how fire safety activities will affect their mortgage)
  • the Home Office Fire Kills campaign has a range of leaflets on how to reduce the risk of fire in the home and what to do should one break out – view the main leaflet, Fire Safety in the Home

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 was led by Dame Judith Hackitt. Its purpose was 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 examined building and fire safety regulations and related compliance and enforcement with the focus on multi-occupancy high rise residential buildings.

A call for evidence was issued on 12 September 2017; an interim report was published on 18 December 2017 and the final report was published on 17 May 2018.

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.

The Data Protection Officer can be contacted at dataprotection@communities.gsi.gov.uk. Find out more about how the Building Safety Programme handles data responsibly.

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.

Announcements

Letters

Information note for building owners

Advice notes

Fire test reports

Published 20 July 2017
Last updated 18 June 2018 + show all updates
  1. Added 'Announcement 26 - James Brokenshire publishes consultation on banning combustible cladding.'
  2. Added letter to local authority and housing association chief executives on the funding for removal and replacement of ACM cladding systems on high-rise buildings in the social housing sector.
  3. Added Building Safety Programme: monthly data release - May 2018.
  4. Added announcements 23, 24 and 25 following publication of the Hackitt review's final report; added letter 20 to local authorities instructing them to pay particular regard to cladding related issues when reviewing housing in their areas.
  5. Added advice note 16: advice for building owners on assurance and replacing of flat entrance fire doors.
  6. Added Building Safety Programme: monthly data release - April 2018.
  7. Information added in the section: Advice for leaseholders affected by fire safety activity
  8. Added Building Safety Programme: monthly data release - March 2018.
  9. Added Building Safety Programme: monthly data release - February 2018.
  10. Added Advice note 15 - Advice for building owners on external wall systems.
  11. Updated Building Safety Programme page; added "Information note for landlords and building owners of tall residential buildings with ACM cladding".
  12. Deadline extended to 10 November 2017 for organisations to provide information on buildings.
  13. Added legal clarification letter, new burdens assessment update letter, and letter from Tamara Finkelstein to private residential building owners requesting information about their buildings.
  14. Added Update on interim mitigation measures required pending remediation of cladding.
  15. Added update and consolidated advice for building owners following large-scale testing.
  16. Added Fire test report: DCLG BS 8414 test no.6; Added advice for building owners: large-scale wall system test 6.
  17. Added Fire test report: DCLG BS 8414 test no.7, and Advice for building owners: large-scale wall system test 7.
  18. Added Fire test report: DCLG BS 8414 test no.5 - and Advice for building owners: large-scale wall system test 5.
  19. Added Fire test report: DCLG BS 8414 test no.4 and Advice for building owners: large-scale wall system test 4.
  20. Added Fire test report: DCLG BS 8414 test no.3 and Advice for building owners: large-scale wall system test 3.
  21. Added - 3 August 2017 - Fire test report: DCLG BS 8414 test no.2.
  22. First published.