"Although it is two years since we raised the need to look at High Pressure Laminate (HPL) with government, five years since an HPL system combined with combustible insulation failed a fire test and 10 years since HPL panels helped spread the fire at Lakanal House where six people died, advice has only just been issued on the level of risk posed by HPL cladding."
Responding to the Written Ministerial Statement on building safety from the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, the Local Government Association’s Building Safety spokesperson, Lord Porter said:
“The delay to the programme of testing cladding materials leaves residents facing another summer of uncertainty over the safety of their homes.
“Although it is two years since we raised the need to look at High Pressure Laminate (HPL) with government, five years since an HPL system combined with combustible insulation failed a fire test and 10 years since HPL panels helped spread the fire at Lakanal House where six people died, advice has only just been issued on the level of risk posed by HPL cladding.
“Given the Expert Panel’s advice that European Class C and D panels are unlikely to adequately resist the spread of fire and that any HPL panel when combined with combustible insulation is also unlikely to adequately resist the spread of fire, government needs to give immediate consideration to funding the removal of HPL cladding systems from high-rise residential buildings. It cannot be right when the building owners of blocks with ACM cladding are receiving financial assistance that we do not extend the same help to those with HPL cladding.
“In addition the Government needs to publish the results of all the other tests it has conducted so far to reassure residents and help building owners.
“We will be encouraging our members to push private owners to claim the money the Government is making available to deal with ACM. We have previously raised the need to fund the replacement of all forms of dangerous cladding with the Government and we are pleased to see the Housing, Communities and Local Government Select Committee recommend that the Government should do so.
“For some councils the sheer volume of high rise buildings makes the job of collecting data on cladding systems a mammoth task which will require additional staff – especially in cases where private owners are hard to trace or refuse to cooperate. The Government needs to provide the funding it is planning for this work as soon as possible.”
Notes to editors
The Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee Select Committee published its report ‘Building regulations and fire safety: consultation response and connected issues today. The report concludes that “the Government cannot morally justify funding the replacement of one form of dangerous cladding, but not others” and “should immediately extend its fund to cover the removal and replacement of any form of combustible cladding – as defined by the Government’s combustible cladding ban – from any high-rise or high-risk building”.