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DCLG expects building regulations review update “shortly”

HVAC industry views urgent need to overhaul standards in areas such as heating in post-Grenfell spotlight

The government has said it will soon unveil the next steps in its review of UK building regulations following the Grenfell Tower fire on June 14.

 At the same time, stakeholders in areas such as water heating are already preparing to unveil renewed approaches to standards and best practice as part of a commitment that pre-dates last month’s blaze.

The fire, which has resulted in at least 80 confirmed deaths so far, has put a spotlight on standards in areas such as acceptable cladding and insulation materials, as well as raising questions for some business services suppliers about how they introduce and maintain new technology.

Some HVAC stakeholders are understood to be in the process of completing longstanding work to introduce more formalised standardisation for the introduction and maintenance of heating systems such as boilers. However, the resulting concerns raised over building safety requirements and insulation materials from the Grenfell fire are expected to increase scrutiny in how standards are policed and supported.

It is unknown as yet what direct outcomes there may be for suppliers and installers of heating and cooling technology as a result of the government’s investigation.

The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) has yet to outline the specifics of intended timelines for its review, or whether heating and cooling solutions, as well as insulation use may figure into amended regulations.

“The Grenfell Tower fire and the subsequent cladding testing have raised questions about the building regulatory system, and how and why non-compliant cladding has been used,” said a spokesperson for the DCLG. 

“These issues need to be understood so we can make our tower blocks safe for those who live in them.  We are looking at how best to do this and will make an announcement shortly about next steps.”

As H&V News reported earlier this month, the problems being uncovered following Grenfell have not surprised many fire and buildings experts, who have long argued that fire measures are not well enough understood throughout the construction process and that responsibilities often get lost.

A particular ongoing concern among the HVAC industry has been to ensure that everyone on site understands the importance of correctly sealing penetrations in fire compartments.

A more in-depth look at the HVAC industry’s calls for root-and-branch reform to regulations in response to Grenfell can be found in the August 2017 digital edition of H&V News here.

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