Building standards (fire safety) - a consultation on external wall systems

Closed 11 Oct 2021

Opened 16 Jul 2021

Feedback updated 17 Jun 2022

We asked

Following the fire at Grenfell Tower in 2017, the Scottish Government Ministerial Working Group (MWG) on Building and Fire Safety set up a panel of experts through the Building Standards Fire Safety Review Panel 2021 to consider introducing a ban of the highest risk cladding products and the continued role of large scale fire testing for facades.

The ‘Building standards (fire safety) – a consultation on external wall systems ’ public consultation gathered information and views on the proposed actions from the Review Panel recommendations and asked: 

•    Where external wall cladding systems meeting European classification A1 and A2, or full scale façade tests or fire engineering approach should apply to building types and situations. This was asked utilising four options. 

•    What the definition of the highest risk metal composite material (MCM) cladding panels should be and if the application of these materials on buildings should be banned in legislation. 

•    For comments on consequential matters in relation to service penetrations. 

You said

The consultation received 76 responses.

•    Option 1 (April 2021 addendum) attracted the least support (16%), Options 2 (managed use of BS 8414) and 4 (any alternative proposal) had broadly similar levels of support (24% and 27% respectively) with Option 3 (regulatory ban) attracting the most support (33%).

•    48% of respondents provided support for the MCM definition compared to 17% who did not support the proposed definition. Some 36% of respondents were undecided about the proposal.

The majority of respondents (60%) felt that the ban should be in regulation. 

•    Responses on consequential matters was broadly split across the three possible answers.

We did

The Building (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2022 were laid in the Scottish Parliament on 22 April. Changes to requirements on fire safety of cladding systems will be introduced on 1 June.  These regulations include:


•    Banning highly combustible metal composite material panels on all buildings regardless of height;


•    A ban on combustible external wall cladding systems of residential and high risk buildings over 11m;


•    Changes to the mandatory building standard 2.7, fire spread on external walls, to improve clarity of intent; and


•    Requirements for replacement cladding to comply with current regulations.  


Amendments to the building regulations and standards are now made by Part 2 of The Building (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2022.  

The revised standards and supporting guidance apply to all building warrants submitted on or after 1 June 2022 and are published at: New publication: Technical Handbooks for use from 1 June 2022 .

Dissemination events
Our  Building standards technical handbooks 2022: events and resources page provides further information on key changes and the opportunity to register for stakeholder engagement sessions.

Results updated 9 Feb 2022

An analysis of the responses to the public consultation on a review of building standards relating to the fire safety of external wall systems to help ensure the safety of people in and around Scotland’s buildings was published on 17 Jan 2022


Published responses

View submitted responses where consent has been given to publish the response.


This consultation seeks to obtain the views and opinions of stakeholders on a review of building standards relating to the fire safety of cladding to help ensure the safety of people in and around Scotland's buildings. 

The consultation covers five main areas, as follows:

  • the wording of mandatory standard 2.7 relating to fire spread on external walls;
  • consideration of a definition and ban on the highest risk metal composite material (MCM) cladding panels;
  • options to improving standards and guidance on cladding systems, including the continued role of the large scale fire test, BS 8414; 
  • consequential matters - combustible exemptions; and 
  • impact assessments.

The proposed changes outlined in the consultation aim to:

  • improve fire safety for the design and construction of all buildings, in relation to external wall cladding systems, making them safer for those in and around buildings in the event of an outbreak of fire. 

Why your views matter

Following the tragic events at Grenfell Tower, London in June 2017 a ministerial working group (MWG) was set up to oversee a review of building and fire regulatory frameworks and any other relevant matters, to help ensure that people are safe in Scotland's buildings, and make any recommendations for improvements as required. 

In 2018, the building standards (fire safety) review panel (a sub group of the MWG), recommended to ministers that the building regulations relating to external fire spread (standard 2.7) did not require to be amended, but it did recommend that the supporting guidance in the technical handbooks could be strengthened. The key changes in relation to cladding introduced on 1 October 2019 were as follows: 

  • lowering the height at which combustible cladding can be used from 18 metres to 11 metres to align with fire-fighting  from the ground;
  • tighter controls over the combustibility of cladding systems on hospitals,residential care buildings, entertainment and assembly buildings regardless of building height

More recently, Kevin Stewart, minister for Local Government, Housing and Planning announced at the local government and communities committee meeting on 4 September 2020 that a panel of fire experts would be convened to consider a ban on the highest risk cladding materials through building regulations and to review the role of the large scale fire test, BS 8414. 

This consultation reflects the outcomes and proposals of the expert panel. 

The Scottish Government is now seeking the views of any organisation or individual with an interest in ensuring building standards legislation and associated technical handbook guidance fully address the issues raised in relation to: 

  • the design and construction of buildings and the safety of persons in and around  buildings in the event of fire spread onto external wall cladding systems.  

Read the consultation paper. 

What happens next

The consultation has now closed. 

Following analysis of consultation responses, recommendations will be made to Scottish Ministers on relevant changes to current standards and guidance within building regulations. 



  • Building and Planning