Changes to Building Regulations and Cladding Systems

Changes to Building Regulations and Cladding Systems

With the Building Safety Act now in force, we are seeing changes to the wider building regulations continuing apace.  Below are two key changes of significant note.

  • The ban on the use of combustible materials in and on the external walls of buildings with a storey at least 18 metres above ground level has been extended to include hotels, hostels and boarding houses. Metal Composite Material panels with unmodified polyethylene core (MCM PE) have been banned on all new buildings of any height.
  • Announced last year, Approved Document B (Fire Safety) also now includes new requirements for external walls and balconies on new residential buildings between 11 and 18 metres in height to limit the combustibility of materials.

FIS is working on summarising key changes to Approved Document B across the wider scope of interior products, so watch out for this guidance in the coming weeks.

There also remains an open consultation on national classifications as a way of demonstrating compliance within Approved Document B. To find out more and feed your views into the FIS survey about this consultation, click here.

NHBC announces revisions to its Technical Standards

NHBC announces revisions to its Technical Standards

NHBC’s revisions to its Technical Standards are now live. The latest edition of the organisation’s Technical Standards applies to every new home registered with the new homes warranty and insurance provider where the foundations have been laid on or after 1 January 2023.

NHBC said its dedicated Standards team had spent the past year applying its expertise to a thorough review of all its technical content. It has been working with stakeholders across the industry “to ensure the Standards continue to provide trusted support and guidance for builders and developers”.

There have been significant changes and updates to several chapters, including:

  • aligning with British Standards, including BS EN 1992, BS 8666 and BS 8102:2022
  • updates to both concrete upper floor design and timber/joist deflection limits and to the weathertightness of windows, doors and glazing
  • new guidance on the provision of horizontal movement joints on masonry clad buildings and on supporting single leaf garage walls
  • addressing the low carbon agenda by:
    – increasing cavity wall widths due to improving thermal performance standards
    – a focus on renewable and sustainable technologies to reduce carbon footprint and provide alternative heating sources.

NHBC said its Technical Standards would continue to help builders and developers deliver “the highest possible new home standards and support the continuous improvement of the quality of new homes”.

Mark Russell, NHBC’s standards and policy manager, said:

“There have been significant changes to this year’s Standards to ensure they remain both relevant and accurate. We are sure the industry will find them a useful reference point as we all work to build safe, high-quality homes for everyone.”

Government consultation on the removal of national classifications

Government consultation on the removal of national classifications

Government is consulting on the removal of national classifications as a way of demonstrating compliance with the guidance given with Approved Document B, Fire.

Construction products offering fire resistance (walls, ceilings, doors and floors) can be tested using either BS476 or BSEN 1364 tests depending on the products and other attributes such as load bearing, and this change will require all fire performance claims to be substantiated using BS EN 1364 tests.

So that FIS can provide a considered response to the consultation, we are interested in your views so we can gauge the impact of these changes and respond collectively. You can respond directly to us by answering the questions, here. responses are required no later than Monday 13 February.

If you have any questions, please email or call 07795 958780.

A copy of the full consultation can be read here


Delay to abolishing CE Marking, but flip flopping on test and assessments creates more uncertainty

Delay to abolishing CE Marking, but flip flopping on test and assessments creates more uncertainty

In a recent revised announcement UK Government confirmed that the deadline for ending recognition of the CE mark has been extended to 30 June 2025.  This was welcome news ahead of the New Year, albeit at the eleventh hour as it alleviated any concerns around immediate availability of product.  Guidance published in the New Year to clarify the position indicates a reversal of policy on recognition of EU test and assessments at ACVP 3 level and may open the flood gates to re-testing of existing product being imported.  The guidance offers an amnesty that there will be no enforcement on anyone who has or is in the process of making the transition to UKCA marking using EU Test data.

Commenting on the changes, FIS Iain McIlwee stated:

“It feels like three steps forward and two back.  This reversal of policy around recognition creates more uncertainty and an unusual situation where Government has written legislation, aspects of which it does not intend to enforce (at this stage), however, it leaves us with more questions than answers and we have simply kicked the can down the road.  We can only hope that this is part of a wider strategy and the negotiations ongoing have re-opened the door to mutual recognition which is what we have been calling for from the outset”.

You can read the full guidance from government here

To help with planning, FIS has updated its Conformity Marking – How-to guidance note. This can be downloaded here.

Circular letter regarding revisions to Approved Document B

Circular letter regarding revisions to Approved Document B

Meeting the requirements of the Building Regulations is the first cornerstone of compliance. There are a number of Approved Documents for England which provide guidance and Approved Document (AD) B1 and B2 provide specific advice for Dwellings (B1) and Buildings other than Dwellings (B2)

On 1 December 2022 the Government reissued ADB1 and ADB2 to incorporate the amendments in 2020 and 2022.

The Department responsible for these approved documents, The Department for Levelling Up Housing and Communities (DLUHC), issued a Circular letter concerning revisions to Approved Document B and circular letter 02/2022. This provides further revisions made to correct errors made during amendment process earlier this year. The letter provides the original text plus the revised text which will come into force on 1 December 2022.

To view this circular letter, please click here.

FIS issues guidance on fire door openings – limitations of testing

FIS issues guidance on fire door openings – limitations of testing

In response to queries highlighted at the “getting it right” seminar earlier this year, and with the assistance of our members we have drafted a short technical note to help raise awareness of the restrictions on minimum nib sizes between and around fire rated doorset openings.

This is designed to assist where perceptions of an industry “rule of thumb” can mislead some to believe that these types of limitations simply represent best practice, when in fact they are often a function of much stricter rules.

Technical Guidance

FIS provides a wide-range of technical guidance for its members. You can find it all within our Technical Resources Library here