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Large scale cladding fire safety tests advised

Grenfell Tower 3x2

An expert panel on fire safety, put together in the wake of the Grenfell Tower fire, has said that large scale tests will help establish how different types of ACM panels in combination with different types of insulation behave in a fire.

Following the Grenfell Tower fire on 14 June, the Government started an audit of high-rise social housing tower blocks across the country, to assess the fire risk of Aluminium Composite Material (ACM) cladding panels.

Samples of Aluminium Composite Material (ACM) cladding currently on high rise residential towers were sent to Building Research Establishment (BRE) for testing for a specific fire resistance level, but so far all the samples received have not met that level.

The new large scale tests just announced will help establish how different types of ACM panels in combination with different types of insulation behave in a fire.

The tests will look at three different types of ACM cladding combined with different types of insulation and will be in accordance with British Standard 8414, as advised by the panel.

The testing will involve building a 9m 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 spread up the outside wall.

The results of the tests will be made publically available.

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