Grenfell cladding fire test due next week

The building industry will get a clear verdict next week on whether similar Grenfell cladding systems pass or fail stringent Building Regulation guidance for use on new and existing towers.

Grenfell cladding exposed
Grenfell cladding exposed

The BRE is about to start full fire testing on full-scale models of cladding systems to establish how they react to different combinations with other materials including what the cladding is put on and where the cladding is used.

The cladding will be tested under Building Regulations test, known as BR135  this will test aluminium polyethylene composite panels and PIR foam insulation used in the disaster.

 

Over the next three weeks other combinations with less combustible panel fillers and wall insulation will also be tested which are listed below.

ACM cladding system tests
Week commencing Advice expected on:
24 July ACM with unmodified polyethylene filler with PIR foam insulation
31 July ACM with unmodified polyethylene filler with mineral wool insulation
ACM with a fire retardant polyethylene filler with PIR foam insulation
7 August ACM with a fire retardant polyethylene filler with mineral wool insulation
4 August ACM with a limited combustibility filler with PIR foam insulation
ACM with a limited combustibility filler with mineral wool insulation

The timetable was set out as the Government yesterday revealed that 208 local authority and housing association residential blocks over 18m tall have been fitted with aluminium composite material cladding similar to the Grenfell system.

This is far less than the 600 first feared to have been fitted with aluminium rain screen cladding.

All 189 samples of aluminium composite panels from the outside of buildings tested for combustibility have failed BR135.

Samples from a further 12 towers have been submitted this week and they are now being tested.

The results will offer fresh guidance to building owners, designers and contractors about the fire performance of ACM cladding.

 

Communities Secretary Sajid Javid said: “The BRE has yet to see samples from 7 towers, all of them managed by housing associations.

“A month after the tests began, this is simply unacceptable.

“And I expect to see them all submitting samples without any further delay.”

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