09 August 2017 | Herpreet Kaur Grewal
The third in the government's series of fire safety tests of cladding and insulation combinations has been completed by the BRE, according to an announcement by the Department for Communities and Local Government.
Sajid Javid MP, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, published a statement over the weekend detailing the work being undertaken to ensure the safety of residents in high-rise buildings following the Grenfell Tower tragedy.
These large scale tests will allow experts to better understand how different types of cladding panels behave with different types of insulation in a fire. The results of the first two tests have already been published.
This third test was of a wall cladding system consisting of Aluminium Composite Material (ACM) cladding with a fire retardant polyethylene filler (category 2 in screening tests) with PIR foam insulation.
The government's expert panel advises that the results show that the combination of materials used in the test does not meet current Building Regulations guidance.
There are up to 13 buildings over 18 metres tall in England known to have a combination of ACM with a fire retardant polyethylene filler with PIR foam insulation. Cladding samples from each of these buildings had already failed earlier combustibility tests conducted by Building Research Establishment (BRE) and their owners were sent government advice detailing the immediate interim safety measures that needed to be completed.
These latest test results provide building owners with further evidence about fire risks. Government has now provided these building owners with additional detailed advice setting out the actions they need to take to ensure the safety of residents. Government is working closely with these building owners to ensure this advice is being followed.
To further build the evidence available for experts and building owners so they can make informed safety decisions, government has commissioned a seventh large scale test - testing ACM with fire retardant polyethylene filler (category 2 in screening tests) with phenolic foam insulation. Results of all remaining tests will be published when they are available.
The government announced the independent review of building regulations and fire safety on 28 July 2017.
The review will "examine the regulatory system around the design, construction and on-going management of buildings in relation to fire safety as well as related compliance and enforcement issues".