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Grenfell | More than 100 buildings 'fail' new tests

Grenfell Tower

More than 100 buildings have ‘failed’ a second round of large-scale government combustibility tests set up after the Grenfell Tower fire.

Of the 111 buildings known to have the cladding combination which was used in this latest round of testing, 90 of these are owned by local authorities or housing associations.

Tests were carried out by the Building Research Establishment (BRE) and tested a combination of aluminium composite material (ACM) cladding with a polyethylene filler and stone wool insulation. This is not the same combination which was used in the Grenfell Tower.

So far, all materials tested in smaller scale tests and every combination of materials in the larger scale tests have failed to meet building regulations, an expert panel has advised the government.

Last week the government announced an independent inquiry into building regulations and fire safety following the test results.

Results from a first round of testing were released last week, and showed 82 tall buildings to have the same cladding combination as the one which failed. This test combined ACM cladding with polyethylene filler and foam insulation, with fire breaks and cavity barriers in place - it is the same combination understood to have been used in the refurbishment of the Grenfell Tower.

In all, six large-scale tests are being carried out combining three types of ACM cladding with two types of insulation.

The tests follows criteria set out in British Standard 8414-1. Rather than testing a sample of cladding, an entire 9m high cladding system in built and then burnt to test how fire spreads across the surface.

Local Government Association’s safer and stronger communities board chair Simon Blackburn said the government needs to do more to ensure there is capacity within the housebuilding sector to carry out the scale of remedial work required.

“The tragedy at Grenfell Tower has clearly exposed a systemic failure of the current system of building regulation,” he said.

“We also continue to call on the Building Research Establishment and the industry to release results of previous safety tests, including desktop studies. Everything must be out in the open and this needs to happen as soon as possible.”

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