On the 6th July the Independent Expert Advisory Panel (established by the government following the Grenfell Tower fire) recommended a nationwide series of BS 8414 tests were carried out to determine the safety of materials fitted to high-rise blocks and buildings alike.
The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) where commissioned to carry out the series of large scales tests of aluminium composite material (ACM) cladding and insulation to establish how different types and combinations behave in a fire. The tests are designed to see how quickly a fire spreads up a 9 metre high demonstration wall by starting the fire at the bottom and assessing its behaviour and time taken to spread.
Seven combinations of cladding systems, including the way they are fixed, were identified as representative of what is commonly and currently used across the UK and each have undergone a series of isolated tests, with the findings publicly reported.
With all seven combinations having now been tested and reported on and with only three passing the stringent fire tests the government have pledged to set out clear advice on the use of high-rise cladding systems following their findings.
The test findings have indicated that at least 228 high-rise buildings (18m+ high) have been reported to the government as having failed cladding systems in place, whereas only 13 buildings have been reported as having safe and passed systems.
|Cladding System Tested||Result||No. of 18m+ Building reported to be effected|
|ACM with unmodified polyethylene filler (PE) with PIR foam insulation||Failed||82|
|ACM with unmodified polyethylene filler (PE) with mineral wool insulation||Failed||111|
|ACM with a fire retardant polyethylene filler (FR) with PIR foam insulation||Failed||13|
|ACM with fire retardant polyethylene filler (FR) and phenolic foam insulation||Failed||22|
|ACM with fire retardant polyethylene filler (FR) with mineral insulation||Passed||13|
|ACM with a limited combustibility filler (A2) with PIR foam insulation||Passed||0|
|ACM with a limited combustibility filler (A2) with mineral wool insulation||Passed||0|
Alongside the test findings, the government are still strongly advising that all building owners continue to take professional advice regarding remedial work that takes into account the specific and individual circumstances of their buildings and make ups.
Report findings for all seven tests can be found at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/building-safety-programme#test-reports however Salus would like to urge any clients that may have concerns of any nature whether relating to cladding, fire safety or the broader building regulations to not hesitate in contacting us for sound and professional advice.