Ever since Tony Blair’s Labour government launched its Decent Homes Standard 17 years ago, local authorities have been giving their tired old tower blocks a new lease of life by over-cladding them with sleek, well-insulated cladding systems. It’s all about conserving heat energy.
The construction industry – at the behest of successive governments committed to onerous
carbon emissions targets – has jumped through hoop after hoop to meet each successive revision of Part L of the Building Regulations.
New homes are pressure-tested for air leakage;
new and refurbished homes must meet rigorous thermal standards. It’s become an obsession.
But it seems that while Part L is always a top priority, compliance with Part B – fire resistance – gets scant attention. Everybody knows a product’s U-value but nobody seems to know – or care – what its fire resistance is. It’s taken the Grenfell Tower fire to make us realise our mistake.