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We have been informed that some developers and contractors are moving away from SFS/light gauge steel as a construction or infill method in residential buildings over 18metres where brickwork is the façade treatment. This is due to their interpretation of Regulation 7 in the Amendment to Building Regulations 2010 published towards the end of 2018.

It is a requirement on residential buildings over 18metres, that the construction materials forming the external wall should be A1 or A2 rated. There are exceptions to this such as membranes, doors and windows including their frames.

Cavity trays are included in exception list when used between two leaves of masonry. The inclusion of plastic cavity trays contravenes this despite other similar components being on an exclusion list.

We believe that that this is a huge retrograde step for MMC that is providing faster construction times using proven energy efficient construction methods with less water and resources than masonry alternatives.

This has been raised MHCLG via the Construction Products Association (CPA) and we are now looking to gather evidence on the detrimental impact that this decision will have on this growing industry, so please send FIS technical director Joe Cilia (joecilia@thefis.org) any examples of projects where SFS projects have been swapped for masonry because of the changes to the Building Regulations that we can use as evidence to demonstrate the unintended consequences and wider implications of this decision to Government. Your responses will be kept in strict confidence; this is the only way that we will have any chance of reversing this decision.

If you haven’t come across this yet and would like to know more we will be discussing this at a special meeting on 13 November, please follow this link to register. In the interest of serving the sector this meeting will be open to non-members.