Results received from third fire testing programme

The third in the government’s series of fire safety tests of cladding and insulation combinations has been completed by the Building Research Establishment (BRE).

This third test was of a wall cladding system, consisting of aluminium composite material (ACM) cladding with a fire retardant polyethylene filler (category 2 in screening tests) with PIR foam insulation.

The expert panel has said that the results show the combination of materials used in the test does not meet current Building Regulations guidance.

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 the buildings had already failed earlier combustibility tests conducted by BRE and their owners were sent government advice detailing the immediate interim safety measures that needed to be completed.

The tests will allow experts to better understand how different types of cladding panels behave with different types of insulation in a fire.

To further build the evidence available for experts and building owners, government has commissioned a seventh large scale test - testing ACM with fire retardant polyethylene filler with phenolic foam insulation.

Responding to the latest fire safety test results on cladding and insulation, Simon Blackburn, chair of the Local Government Association’s Safer and Stronger Communities Board, said: “Only one council owned block is affected by this latest fire safety test, and the cladding was removed a month ago. The rest of the buildings affected by this latest test are all owned by housing associations, private and other landlords.

“Of all the buildings with a combination of cladding and insulation which has failed one of the three fire tests announced so far, we understand 45 are owned by 15 councils. These councils have already taken steps and put in measures to reassure residents about safety, which includes replacing materials on their high-rise blocks affected.

“With test fails affecting buildings owned by a range of different landlords across the country, it is clear that the current building regulation system has failed. We need a commitment from government that it will meet the exceptional cost to councils of removing and replacing cladding and insulation on high-rise blocks as a result.”