12 Nov 2018

Controversial Codemark certificates axed

7:47 pm on 12 November 2018

Government-backed endorsements that made unsubstantiated fire safety claims about high-rise building cladding have been chopped entirely.

The charred remains of clading are pictured on the outer walls of the burnt out shell of the Grenfell Tower block

The audits were prompted by last year's fire at London's Grenfell Tower Photo: AFP

The six Codemark certificates for aluminium composite panel which have been axed were suspended in July after audits found they lacked evidence for the claims.

The audits were prompted by last year's fire at London's Grenfell Tower which was clad with the cheapest and most combustible type of this panel.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment has revoked four of the certificates.

A manufacturer withdrew another two before the 31 October deadline.

This means only two types of panel still carry Codemark certificates, but replacement ones that no longer make any fire safety claims.

"This process has not unearthed evidence that these products are dangerous," the ministry said in a statement.

"Building owners with fire safety concerns about cladding should contact their local council, and tenants should contact their landlord."

Months of controversy about the panels and the certificates has unearthed major deficiencies with the Codemark scheme which is owned by the ministry. Codemark is the only product assurance scheme that effectively over-rides council consenting checks.

Now, councils can no longer rely on the revoked certificates to approve consents, as they have already done for scores of buildings.

The panels are not banned, as they can be approved in other ways, usually involving a fire engineer's sign-off.

"MBIE will be working with the certification body and the remaining two manufacturers who have had their certificates revoked to resolve outstanding issues with these CodeMark certificates and enable new certificates to be issued," the ministry said.

One of the two replacement certificates on the ministry's website has not been signed by the certifier.

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