Cladding refers to an external covering used on buildings. Cladding system is the whole system including external materials like cladding boards and render, the insulation, fixings, cavity barriers and fire stopping at openings and spandrel panels that form part of the external wall of the building. This generally does not include the structural wall or frame, including steel frame, concrete frame, timber frame or structural masonry.
Buildings can have a range of cladding materials over the surface:
- combustible metal composite cladding
- Metal composite material (MCM)
- Metal composite material with a polyethylene core (MCM-PE - also known as category 3 cladding for fire safety purposes)
- Aluminium composite material with a polyethylene core (ACM-PE). Grenfell Tower building was ACM-PE
General information about building standards relating to external cladding is in our technical handbooks.
Read more about our work in the sections below:
- combustible cladding on high-risk buildings
- Ministerial Working Group on Mortgage Lending and Cladding
- Scottish Safer Buildings Accord
- single building assessment
- register of buildings
- stakeholder groups
Legislation to ban combustible cladding on high-risk buildings, and the highest risk metal composite cladding material from all buildings, was passed by the Scottish Parliament on 22 April 2022.
The legislation was implemented by amendments to the Building (Scotland) Regulations 2004 introduced on 1 June 2022. The amendment removed the fire test option. This change now completely prohibits combustible materials from use on domestic high-rise buildings above 11m. This also includes certain categories of other high-rise buildings, such as care homes and hospitals. This was the third set of changes made to fire safety standards for cladding in Scotland since the Grenfell Tower Fire.
The highest risk metal composite cladding material is completely banned from incorporation in any new building of any height and as replacement cladding for existing buildings in Scotland.
Masonry and concrete cladding finishes on buildings are not combustible and can be assessed readily through visual inspection. Other non-combustible materials like granite cladding may need to be assessed to measure risk, depending on the method of its construction
We set up a Ministerial Working Group on Mortgage Lending and Cladding on 15 June 2017 to resolve the difficulties people experience when trying to buy, sell or remortgage properties in buildings with problematic external wall cladding. The Group published its final report and recommendations on 19 March 2021.
Scottish Ministers announced that all recommendations from the Ministerial Working Group on Mortgages and Cladding would be accepted. This includes the establishment of a Single Building Assessment for every domestic multi residential high rise building in Scotland. We established the Cladding Remediation Programme to take forward the design and implementation of this work.
Scottish Ministers have committed to ensuring that there is no high-risk combustible cladding systems on multi-occupancy high-rise residential buildings in Scotland.
Read more about the Scottish Safer Buildings Accord in the developer commitment letter.
Single Building Assessments (SBAs) were introduced in March 2021, following a recommendation of the Ministerial Working Group on Mortgage Lending and Cladding for multi occupancy residential buildings with cladding on their external walls.
Single Building Assessments:
- identify life critical fire safety risks, and any mitigation or remediation that is required to move risks to a building from high risk to low risk
- are carried out on a building-by-building basis and in-line with the most current building standards
- are procured and produced at no cost to property owners and residents
- are carried out by qualified, insured specialists
SBA pilot programme
We identified 25 high priority buildings to test and develop the Single Building Assessment as part of a pilot programme. The Scotland wide roll out will follow shortly and we will provide more information as the programme progresses.
For further information on the SBA process please email: BuildingAssessments@gov.scot
Identification of risks
The SBA may identify ‘high risks’ with a building which cannot move to ‘low risk’ until remediation has been resolved. This includes external wall systems requiring remediation or other construction defects leading to life-critical fire safety risks. It may identify other risks such as storage of combustible materials in common areas or issues in compartmentalisation due to improper homeowner maintenance or home improvements. The SBA will determine liability. Homeowners and other duty holders would be expected to take these problems forward in the interest of fire safety. Works to rectify risks and allow a building to move to a low-risk status will be funded by developers for buildings that they developed. Scottish Government will fund buildings that have no identifiable developer, or “Orphan buildings".
Single building assessment process
After assessment we will create a Mitigation and Remediation Agreement (MARA) for every building highlighting:
- the risks being remediated
- the proposed solution
- the timeline
For ‘orphan buildings’, meaning those buildings with no identifiable developer we will take forward the package of remediation works. This will start with triage of risks identified in the SBA and the design and scoping of solutions to problems. Our procurement mechanisms will identify suppliers who will undertake the SBA on a building and then produce a package of solutions with costs to rectify risks. A design package will be reviewed by the Cladding Remediation Programme and technical panel.
Buildings undergoing remediation:
- we will work with the factor or chosen building representative throughout the process to highlight timelines, issues and completion of the remediation works
- we will communicate with the chosen building representative or factor to keep them regularly informed throughout the process
We continue to work with the insurance and lending markets to help unblock mortgages and buildings insurance for those affected by combustible cladding.
For more information email: BuildingAssessments@gov.scot
We are creating a register of buildings which was a recommendation of the Ministerial Working Group on Mortgage Lending and Cladding.
The register will contain details of buildings which have been assessed through a single building assessment and undergone remediation to an agreed and consistent set of standards reducing the risk of a buildings from high to low risk. The single building assessment will be procured and funded by Scottish Government. This ensures independence of assessment for inclusion to the register.
We’ll provide more information on the register as this work develops.
We have the following stakeholder groups: