More housing blocks fail fire safety cladding tests

3 Aug 17

The government has confirmed that 111 buildings have failed the latest cladding system tests, 90 of which are local authority or housing association run.

This brings the total number of failures to 193, 137 of which are social housing, prompting fresh calls for the government to offer financial support to local authorities affected.

The cost of replacing cladding and improving fire safety across social housing stock is expected to run into the millions.

Yesterday, the Department for Local Communities and Government released the findings of its second test of cladding and insulation combinations which looked into wall cladding systems consisting of Aluminium Composite Material (ACM) cladding with a polyethylene filler (category 3) with stone wool insulation.

Cladding samples from all the buildings that failed the latest assessment had already been tested and failed earlier combustibility tests conducted by the Building Research Establishment.

Commenting on the test results, Simon Blackburn, chair of the Local Government Association’s safer and stronger communities board, said: “The tragedy at Grenfell Tower has clearly exposed a systemic failure of the current system of building regulation.

“The government must commit to meet the full cost to councils of removing and replacing cladding and insulation systems. It is also imperative that this testing process moves quickly to identify what landlords should be replacing these systems with as soon as possible.”

He also called on central government to ensure that the housebuilding industry has the capacity to quickly and safely undertake the remedial work which maybe necessary as more and more properties fail safety tests.

Blackburn added: “We also continue to call on the Building Research Establishment and the industry to release results of previous safety tests, including desktop studies. Everything must be out in the open and this needs to happen as soon as possible.”

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