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Overcladding systems face tougher fire tests

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TOWER BLOCK overcladding systems will have to comply with tough new fire safety tests if a recommendation made this week by a House of Commons committee is accepted by the Government.

The safety of existing overcladding systems was questioned after a man died as fire ripped through an overclad tower block in Irvine, Ayrshire, on 11 June 1999 (NCE 1 July 1999).

The Environment Transport and Regional Affairs committee subsequently questioned all metropolitan borough councils on the fire safety of the estimated 500 tower blocks which have been overclad in the UK.

The committee concluded that most overcladding systems do not pose 'a serious threat to life or property in the event of fire'. Nevertheless, it said the new full-scale fire test, recently developed by the Building Research Establishment, should be adopted as a new British Standard and incorporated into the Building Regulations.

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