Forty seven social housing sites fail cladding fire safety tests

28 Jul 17

Early full-scale tests of cladding systems in the UK have revealed 47 local authority or housing association owned buildings have failed the fire safety tests.

The government today published the first stage of its so-called ‘systems test’ into cladding since the Grenfell tower fire which killed at least 80 people.

Investigators found that the cladding system consisting of aluminum composite material  (ACM) with polyethylene filler (Category 3) and foam insulation, with fire breaks and cavity barriers in place “does not meet current building regulation guidance”.

This comes as the Metropolitan Police confirmed it had “reasonable grounds” to believe corporate manslaughter, which carries the possibility of a fine, had occurred in regards to the tragedy.

The tests examined not just the cladding material but a complete cladding system including cladding panels, insulation and cavity barriers to determine how they acted in a fire.

The Independent Expert Advisory Panel said: “This reconfirms the advice already provided to building owners about the immediate steps they should take to ensure buildings are safe.

“Landlords of buildings with cladding using the same combination of materials as in this first full scale test must now act on the additional advice they have been given since this test, to seek professional advice about any necessary remedial work.”

According to official advice issued today, any combination of ACM and unmodified polyethylene and foam filler represents a “significant hazard” for buildings over 18 metres and should be removed and replaced.

The government is carrying out further tests on a total of three different types of ACM cladding, which are being combined with two different types of insulation to test their combustibility when taken together, with six combinations being tested in total.

In total 82 buildings have so far failed the first cladding system test, 47 of which are either owned or managed by local authorities or housing associations. 

The government also announced today that an independent review of building regulations and fire safety will be conducted.

Communities secretary Sajid Javid said: “It’s clear we need to urgently look at building regulations and fire safety. This independent review will ensure we can swiftly make any necessary improvements.

“Government is determined to make sure that we learn the lessons from the Grenfell Tower fire, and to ensure nothing like it can happen again.”

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