Compliant cladding – What installers need to know
The safe use of cladding continues to be in the spotlight, with recent changes to current Building Regulations brought in to ensure products used to cover building exteriors remain compliant and safe for use. This included a decision taken by the UK Government in December 2018. It announced that it would ban the use in England of combustible cladding products for all new schools, hospitals, care homes, student accommodation and residential buildings, as well as refurbishment projects that were above 18m in height.
The amendment also applies if a building, which is not currently within the scope of the ban, subsequently undergoes a change of use and means the external walls must then be compliant with the new requirements. Last year, the UK Government also announced that it may well extend the ban to include residential buildings down to 11m in height. Its final decision will follow a consultation period.
The new and emerging operating landscape means installers need to be clear that the product solutions they are working with remain within regulatory parameters. The good news is that, despite the necessary safety-led changes put in place for buildings above 18m, there remain several compliant products that fall within the regulation boundaries, offering choice for those seeking solutions for buildings up to 18m in height and beyond.
Cladding material classification
If installers want to use cladding materials for projects above 18m in height, then the cladding must achieve a European classification of Class A1 or A2. The classification system assesses the qualities of building materials in the case of a fire.
Cladding materials were previously subject to older British Standard classification. This was changed to the European classification (Euroclass), which says that:
“building work shall be carried out so that materials which become part of an external wall, or specified attachment, of a relevant building are of European Classification A2-s1, d0 or A1, classified in accordance with BS EN 13501-1:2007+A1:2009“
BS EN 13501-1 defines the classes A1 and A2 as follows:
Class A1 products are described as having no contribution to fire and will therefore not contribute at any stage of the fire, including the fully developed fire.
Class A2 products are described as having no significant contribution to fire and will therefore not significantly contribute to the fire load and the fire growth in a fully developed fire.
Applicable building types
It is also important installers are clear on the building types falling under the scrutiny of the amended regulations. The regulations cover a building/structure with a storey (not including roof-top plant areas or any storey consisting exclusively of plant rooms) at least 18 metres above ground level and which “contains one or more dwellings; contains an institution; or contains a room for residential purposes, but does not include a room in a hostel, hotel or boarding house.”
By including institutions, the regulations also cover some residential schools, care homes and hospitals, sheltered accommodation, student residences or other institutional accommodation blocks. The final group includes any building which contains “a room for residential purposes”. Hostels, hotels, or boarding houses are excluded, unless they are converted into residential accommodation, such as student housing.
The material change-of-use requirement is also very important. As an example, a hotel may be built using materials not permitted in a student residence, but the hotel cannot then be converted to a student residence without replacing any non-compliant materials.
Product solutions up to 18m
Deeplas provides three cladding options suited for use up to 18m.
Twinson Premium Cladding is a naturally beautiful, 100% recyclable cladding combining wood and PVC-U for a durable, low maintenance solution. It is available in two styles. Flat 167 cladding comprises of hollow planks for enhanced insulation with a ventilated outer wall for air circulation, providing a continuous, unbroken wall covering. Installers can choose from 6m and 3m lengths. Flat open 83 cladding is solid Twinson cladding planks installed with open joints between the planks, allowing free air circulation between walls and cladding. It is available in 3m lengths.
Embossed PVC-U shiplap cladding provides an attractive, low maintenance, weather resistant solution. It is designed for easy installation and its range of colours and realistic embossed finish mean it can create a truly unique appearance from a rustic timber-effect through to crisp, contemporary white finish. All trims are RAL colour matched and cladding boards are available in a 6m length as standard and offer a Euroclass fire rating of D-S3, d2.
The third option is BBA approved Coastline, its fire testing performance meets the standards of BS EN 13501 and has been extensively tested by an independent fire testing authority. It offers a Euroclass fire rating of D-S3, d2 and can be safely and compliantly used on structures below 18m in height, provided additional stipulations in the Building Regulations are adhered too, such as 1m from a boundary.
Coastline is made from a mineral composite, available in six New England colours, offers 10 years of weatherproof performance and is easy to fit. In addition, the material has minimal contraction or expansion whatever the weather conditions.