Knock back for CLT use in the UK

Friday 7 Dec 2018

The UK government has just released details of its ban on combustible building materials in the wake of the Grenfell Tower tragedy, revealing that it will limit the use of cross-laminated timber in construction. The legislation, titled Final Impact Assessment: Ban on combustible materials in external wall systems, has been published by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.

It confirms that no combustible materials will be permitted on the external walls of any new buildings taller than 18 metres. They will also be banned in renovations of existing buildings. As well as housing buildings, it will apply to student accommodation, registered care homes, hospitals and boarding school dormitories.

Timber banned on exterior of tall buildings

The policy limits the use of materials to those with a European fire rating of Class A1 or A2, and states explicitly that wood products do not come under this classification. "The policy prohibits the use of timber materials in the external wall of buildings within the scope," it states.

Engineered timber, particularly cross-laminated timber (CLT), is increasingly being championed in architecture as a sustainable alternative to steel and concrete structural frameworks. According to the legislation, its use will now be limited.

"Engineered timber offers an alternative to traditional methods of construction in buildings within the scope of the policy," it states. "It is therefore likely to slow down the use of engineered timber in future development in the medium to long term." The new legislation comes into effect on 21 December 2018. More >>


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