Where now for CLT?

Tom Lane cropped

The CLT ban could damage investor confidence in modern methods of construction

When the government announced details of its combustible cladding ban at the end of last year, the cross-laminated timber (CLT) industry’s worst fears were confirmed. The consultation on the ban, announced by the government last summer, stated a preference to permit only materials with a Class A1 or A2 rating in the external walls of residential buildings over 18m high, equivalent to six storeys. At the time architect Anthony Thistleton, whose practice Waugh Thistleton has done so much pioneering work with CLT, warned that a ban could spell the end of the industry in the UK.

Nevertheless the ban went ahead and the CLT sector is trying to adapt. Some have been remarkably sanguine about the ban, saying the majority of residential buildings constructed from CLT came under the 18m ceiling and therefore wouldn’t be affected. For buildings over 18m a hybrid approach could be adopted with CLT used for the internal walls and floors and a non-combustible material, probably steel, for the external structure.

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