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Cladding fire safety tests completed

Grenfell Tower

The government has said that the large scale fire safety testing of cladding combinations undertaken after the Grenfell Tower fire has finished.

It said the final wall cladding combination to undergo the testing has “passed” and meets current Building Regulations guidance.

This final test was of a wall cladding system consisting of aluminium composite material (ACM) cladding with a limited combustibility filler (category 1 in screening tests) with stone wool insulation. There are no tall buildings in England with this combination.

After the Grenfell Tower fire on 14 June, the government began a fire safety testing programme led by materials testing organisation BRE. It has tested hundreds of ACM cladding samples and several large-scale cladding combinations for compliance with fire safety guidance set out in the Building Regulations 2010.

In total, seven cladding combinations underwent testing, with four of the combinations “failing” to meet Building Regulations requirements, according to the government’s expert panel. The programme of testing for small-scale samples found more than 269 cladding samples had failed.

Now the government is collating the test results and will shortly publish advice to landlords and building owners.

An independent review of current building regulations and fire safety requirements for tall buildings is to be carried out as a result, led by manufacturing trade body EEF’s chair Dame Judith Hackitt.

The large-scale cladding combinations are being tested for compliance with building regulations under the second route for compliance. This test follows criteria set out in British Standard 8414-1, and the results are checked for compliance with BR135. During the test, a 9m high cladding system is built and then burned to see how fire spreads across the surface.

To comply with BR135, a test must last for at least 40 minutes.


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