This is not a ban on CLT – but it is still incredibly shortsighted

Anthony Thisleton

CLT can help deliver homes faster and tackle climate change

It was, and remains, clear that in the wake of the tragic events at Grenfell Tower changes were needed to the construction industry and particularly in the way that external facades are designed, engineered and delivered.

On the whole then, the changes to building regulations the government announced just over a week ago – the so-called “combustibles ban” – should be welcomed. The failings exposed by Grenfell and highlighted in the Hackitt Report are serious, systemic and need to be addressed. Legislation to unequivocally prevent the use of combustible cladding at height is therefore a good start.

But aspects of the changes introduced by the government are misguided. We are clear that by including mass timber construction within the remit of the legislation, thereby restricting the use of cross-laminated timber (CLT) in the external walls of buildings over 18 metres, the government has overreached its stated aim, and demonstrated a misunderstanding of the fire performance of engineered timber. This is disappointing and short sighted.

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