We’ve had quite a response to our story on insurers threatening to pull cover on timber frame buildings.
The gist of the responses is we gave the impression that insurers are set to withdraw all cover from all timber frame buildings. We’ve also been criticised for mentioning six people died in a fire in a housing block in Peckham in November.
To help bring some clarity to the situation the story was about insurers increasing concerns about the rising costs of claims for buildings constructed using modern methods of construction. Timber frame is mentioned specifically because there is more flammable material present with this form of construction and also because there are so many timber framed buildings out there (it has 70% of the market in Scotland for example). Insurers aren’t refusing to cover timber frame buildings at the moment but both Axa and Aviva said they could envisage refusing cover in certain circumstances in the future, hence our story.
Turning to the second point, we hold our hands up to a factual error. We should have said six people died in a fire in Camberwell in July, this was the non timber framed high rise Lakanal House.
The reason for mentioning this is the London Assembly has begun a probe into fires in London which was prompted by this incident and two fires on half completed timber frame projects in Peckham and Camberwell in November and January respectively. Insurance research and lobbying body RISC Authority submitted a report to this inquiry specifically raising concerns over the fire performance of completed timber framed buildings.
For more on this story see what Timber Trade Journal magazine said and this Fridays issue of Building where you can see what Geoff Arnold, the chairman of the UK Timber Frame Association has to say and what we really think about this issue.