Publication - Minutes

Building Standards (Fire Safety) Review Panel 2021 minutes: March 2021

Published: 16 Jun 2021
Date of meeting: 16 Jun 2021

Minutes from the Building Standards (Fire Safety) Review Panel 2021's meeting in March 2021.

Published:
16 Jun 2021
Building Standards (Fire Safety) Review Panel 2021 minutes: March 2021

Attendees and apologies

  • Peter Drummond, RIAS (chair) (PD)
  • Sam Allwinkle, CIAT (SA)
  • Colin Blick, Welsh Government (WAG) (CB)
  • Charles Elie-Romeyer, MHCLG (CER)             
  • Colin Todd, Independent expert (CT)
  • Craig Ross, RICS, (CR)
  • Damian Fairley, DFP NI (DF)
  • David Metcalfe, SFE/CWCT (DM)
  • Eoin O’Dowd, DBLGH Eire (EOD)         
  • Chris Getty, SFRS   (CG)
  • Jim Glocking, FPA (JG)
  • Jim McGonigal, IFE (JMG)
  • Angus Law, UoE (AL)
  • Merl Forrer, Independent expert (8315 Chair) (MF)
  • Debbie Smith, BRE / FSH21 (DS)
  • Brian Tierney , LABSS, (BT)
  • Hywel Davies, BRAC chair / CIBSE (parent to SFE) (HD)
  • Bill Connolly, NHS (BC)
  • Peter Capelhorn, CPA (PC)
  • Clyde Ashby, Independent expert (CA)
  • Stephen Garvin, BSD SG (SG)
  • Colin Hird, BSD SG (CT)
  • Benny Rooney, BSD SG (BR)
  • Steven Scott, BSD SG (SS)
  • Scott Young, BSD SG (SY)

Apologies

Michael Barton-Maynard, HfS (MBM)

 

Items and actions

Welcome and Introductions

The Chair welcomed all members of the Fire Safety Review Panel 2021 and explained the meeting protocol; apologies were noted. 

The Chair asked for the group to be provided with an update from BSD SG officials following a meeting of the Building Standards Fire Safety Ministerial Working group which took place the day previously.

The group was provided with an update and informed that the Minister for Local Government Housing and Planning has asked officials to bring forward measures related to the topic of this review.  Advice in response is still being prepared but does not fundamentally affect the agenda for today or the business of the group’s purpose. An update will be provided in the coming weeks. The request from the Minister relates to the highest risk cladding materials and the BS 8414 test.

The Chair reiterated the intention to have open, free-ranging discussions and the need for such discussions to be confidential although notes of meetings summarising key points and actions will be circulated by BSD.

The Panel should follow the general guidance for transparency set out by the Standards Commission for Scotland.  Any declarations or conflict of interest should be noted in writing to BSD and updated as appropriate in the normal manner. 

Papers were provided to members prior to the second meeting to allow discussion.

Minutes of 11 December meeting 

The minutes of the previous MWG meeting held on Friday 11 December 2020 were agreed.

Ban of metal composite material cladding panels and review of BS 8414     Paper Number - BSFSR M2-02

Background

At the first meeting of the above Review Group on 11 December 2020, several action points were assigned to the Building Standards Division (BSD):

  • BSD to look at Standard and compare with language in Approved Document B and to provide recommendations on new wording
  • BSD to issue note to members around calorific values for various cladding materials, consider definitions and potential consequential effects
  • BSD to collate data from around the world on which countries impose a ban on combustible cladding systems for certain buildings or continue to use a performance based approach.
  • BSD to contact other stakeholders and request evidence for or against BS 8414 (and BR 135)
  • BSD to analyse the robustness of the BS 8414 fire test when compared with other façade fire tests adopted throughout the world

The second meeting will consider in items above as set out in the Appendices. The fourth and fifth items will be covered at the May meeting together with questions around competency and compliance with building regulations

With regard to the fourth item BSD have written to key stakeholders requesting views either for or against the BS 8414 test (including BR 135) and to provide evidence for panel members consideration.

Appendix 1 : Standard 2.7 / Approved Document B requirement B4     comparison

Members were provided with detail of content within Appendix 1 which outlines current standards and guidance and comparison with provisions in England. Ministers are seeking to reinforce Standard 2.7.  

Three options for consideration were outlined within Appendix 1 offered to enable discussion amongst members:

  • option 1 - Amend the wording within Standard 2.7 to include reference for a need to take the height and use of the building into account when determining the adequacy of the construction to limit fire spread on the external wall of a building.
  • option 2 - Retain the current wording within Standard 2.7 and amend regulation 8, adding text similar to that introduced to regulation 7 of the Building Regulations 2010 in December 2018. 
  • option 3 - A combination of both (1) and (2) above, i.e. amend both regulation 8 and Standard 2.7

Members discussed the language within Standard 2.7 with particular emphasis on the use of the word ‘inhibited’.

Members thought that the use of ‘inhibit’ is better than ‘resist’ with one member suggesting that ‘not unduly promoting’ may be a better phrase. 

Officials explained the word ‘inhibit’ was used in many mandatory standards in Section 2: Fire but will consider proposals made during discussion.

Members discussed a suitable definition of Metal Composite Material (MCM) for inclusion in Regulation 2 and options for banning MCM materials on the external façade of a building.

Action: BSD to look at Standard and provide further recommendations on new wording.

Appendix 2 : Fire testing and calorific values for various cladding materials

Members discussed calorific values and how these figures were arrived at with one panel member indicating that setting a value infers it is safe below that value.    

One panel member indicated there was a perception that calorific value can be surrogate for fire performance and behaviour of systems – not as simple as that. Even in single burning item test. No direct correlation between calorific value and classification achieved. Only used for MCM as a screening test to differential composition of cores in materials. Doesn’t work for HPL, for example. So very risky.

Discussion was undertaken into the use of the word “thin” in relation to MCM.

Panel members discussed the setting of the figure of 20 MJ/kg in relation to MCM with one panel member indicating focus has to be what is the basis of evidence. Need to know ‘why 20’. Another panel member went on to state that 20-35 is the clear space needed between the good and bad cladding. Number within that bracket does not matter.

It was noted by one panel member that the objective of the exercise was to create a definition for MCM with a polyethylene core, and this should not be inferred to mean that products that contain a core with a heat of combustion     less than 35 MJ/kg were ‘safe’.

Action: Members to consider wording around calorific values for various cladding materials and offer comment or suggest alternative wording.A

Appendix 3 - world overview of combustible cladding material ban/performance based approach

Members were informed that Building Standards Division contacted various national building regulators through both the Consortium of European Building Control (CEBC) and the Interjurisdictional Regulatory Collaboration Committee (IRCC), seeking information on their approach to regulating the external walls of buildings.

Members were provided with an update on recent developments occurring in Victoria, Australia with regard to remediation taking place within the state and the forthcoming statement on remediation in Scotland.

Any other business

One member informed the group that the Construction Products Association (CPA) has set up an alliance with the considerate contractors scheme re their building safety charter. CPA is working on a code for construction product information and a link can be circulated to members.

Actions agreed - next steps

  • BSD to consider language within Standard 2.7 and Options of Appendix 1 and report back to panel
  • members to consider wording around calorific values for various cladding materials and offer comment or suggest alternative wording.
  • BSD to liaise with other regulators around calorific values and consider definitions
  • all members to consider definition for MCM and wording to Standard 2.7
  • BSD to provide members with outcomes of Ministerial Working Group which took place 11 March 2021

Next Meeting

A note of the meeting will be issued in due course and the next meeting will be scheduled for later in May 2021.

Building Standards Division    
24 March 2021