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Yet another cladding and insulation combination fails UK building regulations

A third set of large scale tests on cladding panels and insulation commonly used on high rise residential blocks in the UK has failed fire and safety tests.

The latest tests show that a combination of Aluminium Composite Material (ACM) cladding with a fire retardant polyethylene filler (category 2 in screening tests) with PIR foam insulation does not meet current Building Regulations guidance.

The Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG) said that there are up to 13 buildings over 18 metres tall in England known to have a combination of ACM with a fire retardant polyethylene filler with PIR foam insulation.

Cladding samples from each of these buildings had already failed earlier combustibility tests conducted by Building Research Establishment (BRE) and their owners were sent Government advice detailing the immediate interim safety measures that needed to be completed.

‘These latest test results provide building owners with further evidence about fire risks. Government has now provided these building owners with additional detailed advice setting out the actions they need to take to ensure the safety of residents,’ said a DCLG spokesman.

‘The Government is working closely with these building owners to ensure this advice is being followed,’ he added.

The DCLG also announced that to further build the evidence available for experts and building owners so they can make informed safety decisions, The Government has commissioned a seventh large scale test for ACM with fire retardant polyethylene filler (category 2 in screening tests) with phenolic foam insulation. Results of all remaining tests will be published when they are available.

The tests are as a result of serious concerns about the safety of cladding following on from the deadly fire at Grenfell Tower in London in which at least 80 people died after a fire thought to have been started in a flat spread quickly along the outside of the high rise apartment block.