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Government fire-safety tests continue

The government’s series of fire safety tests is continuing, with the latest results published by the Building Research Establishment (BRE).

The latest combination of cladding and insulation combinations has continued the large scale tests by BRE, which will allow experts to better understand how different types of cladding panels behave with different types of insulation in a fire.

Results from the first five tests have already been published.

The latest test was of a wall cladding system consisting of Aluminium Composite Material (ACM) cladding with a fire retardant polyethylene filler (category 2 in screening tests) with phenolic foam insulation.

Following the experiments, the government’s expert panel advises that the results show this combination of materials does not meet current Building Regulations guidance.

With over 22 buildings over 18m tall in England known to have a combination of ACM with a fire retardant polyethylene filler with phenolic foam insulation, immediate safety measures have been detailed by the government, to be implemented by the owners.

Additional detailed advice has also been provided, setting out safety measures going forward, with the building owners and government working closely together.

The series of large-scale tests initially included six combinations of cladding systems, with a further large-scale test of ACM with fire retardant polyethylene filler (category 2 in screening tests) with phenolic foam insulation to be undertaken in order to build evidence to assist experts and building owners in making informed safety decisions.

Results of the final large-scale test (ACM with a limited combustibility filler with mineral wool insulation) – and consolidated advice to landlords based on all the 7 tests – will be published shortly.

The government announced an independent review of building regulations and fire safety on 28 July 2017. This forward looking review will examine the regulatory system around the design, construction and on-going management of buildings in relation to fire safety as well as related compliance and enforcement issues.


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