10 Jul 2017
In the aftermath of the Grenfell Tower fire, the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) has provided an update and advice on further testing as a next step to help landlords ensure safety of their buildings.
The suggested tests will help establish how different types of Aluminium Composite Material panels in combination with different types of insulation behave in a fire.
The results of these tests will help landlords make decisions on any further measures that may need to be put in place to make their buildings safe following the Grenfell Tower fire. These tests will be undertaken by the Building Research Establishment (BRE) and will not require any new samples from buildings.
This follows discussion from the expert panel, of which Amanda Clack FRICS is a part, of the processes that have been followed to identify whether buildings had ACM panels and the advice provided to building owners on interim measures; it was agreed that these were the right first steps.
Testing and demonstration
Further tests, which will look at three different types of ACM cladding combined with different types of insulation, will be in accordance with British Standard 8414 in line with the panel’s advice. This involves building a nine-metres-tall demonstration wall with a complete cladding system, including panels and insulation, fixed to it, and then subjecting it to a fire that replicates a severe fire in a flat breaking out of a window and whether it then spreads up the outside wall.
In addition, the Expert Advisory Panel recommended issuing further practical advice on immediate steps landlords can take to identify their wall materials, including insulation, which will be published shortly.
The Government has now commissioned BRE to undertake these tests as a matter of urgency. The results will be made publicly available. Landlords will be expected to take their own professional advice on what is required for their buildings in the usual way.
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