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Cladding and Building Regulations: Navigating the Intricacies of Part B

2 April 2021
Building Regs Part B & cladding

2nd April 2021


The safe use of cladding continues to be in the spotlight, with recent changes to current Building Regulations brought in to ensure products used to cover building exteriors remain compliant and safe for use. This included a decision taken by the UK Government in December 2018. It announced that it would ban the use in England of combustible cladding products for all new schools, hospitals, care homes, student accommodation and residential buildings, as well as refurbishment projects that were above 18m in height.

The amendment also applies if a building, which is not currently within the scope of the ban, subsequently undergoes a change of use and means the external walls must then be compliant with the new requirements. Last year, the UK Government also announced that it may well extend the ban to include residential buildings down to 11m in height. Its final decision will follow a consultation period.

The new and emerging operating landscape means installers need to be clear that the product solutions they are working with remain within regulatory parameters. The good news is that, despite the necessary safety-led changes put in place for buildings above 18m, there remain several compliant products that fall within the regulation boundaries, offering choice for those seeking solutions for buildings up to 18m in height and beyond.

Cladding material classification

If installers want to use cladding materials for projects above 18m in height, then the cladding must achieve a European classification of Class A1 or A2. The classification system assesses the qualities of building materials in the case of a fire.

Cladding materials were previously subject to older British Standard classification. This was changed to the European classification (Euroclass), which says that:

“building work shall be carried out so that materials which become part of an external wall, or specified attachment, of a relevant building are of European Classification A2-s1, d0 or A1, classified in accordance with BS EN 13501-1:2007+A1:2009“

BS EN 13501-1 defines the classes A1 and A2 as follows:

Class A1 products are described as having no contribution to fire and will therefore not contribute at any stage of the fire, including the fully developed fire.

Class A2 products are described as having no significant contribution to fire and will therefore not significantly contribute to the fire load and the fire growth in a fully developed fire.

Applicable building types

It is also important installers are clear on the building types falling under the scrutiny of the amended regulations. The regulations cover a building/structure with a storey (not including roof-top plant areas or any storey consisting exclusively of plant rooms) at least 18 metres above ground level and which “contains one or more dwellings; contains an institution; or contains a room for residential purposes, but does not include a room in a hostel, hotel or boarding house.”

By including institutions, the regulations also cover some residential schools, care homes and hospitals, sheltered accommodation, student residences or other institutional accommodation blocks. The final group includes any building which contains “a room for residential purposes”. Hostels, hotels, or boarding houses are excluded, unless they are converted into residential accommodation, such as student housing.

The material change-of-use requirement is also very important. As an example, a hotel may be built using materials not permitted in a student residence, but the hotel cannot then be converted to a student residence without replacing any non-compliant materials.

Product solutions up to 18m

Eurocell’s innovative composite cladding system - Coastline - meets the requirements of the current building regulations as set out for buildings up to 18m. Its fire testing performance meets the standards of BS EN 13501 and has been extensively tested by an independent fire testing authority. It offers a Euroclass fire rating of D-S3, d2 and can be safely and compliantly used on structures below 18m in height, provided additional stipulations in the building regulations are adhered too, such as 1m from a boundary.

Coastline is available in six New England colours, offers 10 years of weatherproof performance, is easy to fit, and a composite material that has minimal contraction or expansion whatever the weather conditions.

In addition, Eurocell's Shiplap UPVC cladding also provides an attractive, low-maintenance and weather resistant cladding option. It can also be used to replace timber cladding, concealing problem areas of brickwork, or adding an interesting new feature to a property.

Available in shiplap or open-V styles, the cladding is designed for easy installation with a simple clip-together fitting system. The range of colours and realistic woodgrain finishes means installers can help create a truly unique appearance, whether it's a rustic timber-effect or a crisp contemporary white finish. The colours available are exactly matched to Eurocell windows, doors and roofline products for a consistent look across any property.