Government to produce advice to owners and landlords on what to do next
Fire tests on seven types of cladding have now been completed, with the government warning 228 high rise buildings have cladding systems that put them at risk.
The so-called “whole system” tests carried out by the BRE were designed to see how different cladding systems reacted in a fire, before deciding if they complied with building regulations. They were ordered by the government after June’s Grenfell Tower fire in west London in which at least 80 people died.
Only three cladding systems – an aluminium composite material (ACM) cladding system using stonewall insulation with a fire retardant polyethylene filler, ACM cladding with a limited combustibility filler with PIR foam insulation and the last test of ACM cladding with a limited combustibility filler (category 1 in screening tests) with stone wool insulation – were deemed to have met building regulations.
The seventh and final test was a wall cladding system consisting of ACM cladding with a limited combustibility filler with stone wool insulation.
In a statement, the department for communities and local government (DCLG) said: “The results show that this combination of materials can be compliant when installed and maintained properly.” It said it was not aware of any buildings over 18m in England using this combination of materials but added: “It could offer a possible solution for some buildings with other cladding systems which have been identified as a fire hazard through previous large-scale tests.”
Different measures have been put in place at the hundreds of buildings determined to be at risk after the fire safety tests. Buildings affected include those owned by councils, housing associations and private landlords.
The DCLG said: “Building owners need to continue to take professional advice regarding remedial work that takes into account the specific circumstances of their building.”
It added that it would provide consolidated advice to all landlords based on all seven tests shortly.
Other measures following the Grenfell fire include an independent review of building regulations and fire safety, which was announced by the government in July, while a public inquiry into the fire at the Kensington tower will consider the design, construction and refurbishment of the building.