Government fire safety tests conclude

Government fire safety tests conclude

SEVEN TESTS undertaken by the Building Research Establishment (BRE) after the Grenfell Tower fire have now concluded, with the final combination passing.

Recently, the sixth tests took place, which looked at ‘cladding and insulation combinations’. The ‘large scale’ tests aimed to allow expert researchers to ‘better understand how different types of cladding panels behave with different types of insulation in a fire’, with the first six test rounds’ results already published.

The final test looked at ACM (aluminium composite material) with a ‘limited combustibility filler’ and stone wool insulation, with this final combination both passing and meeting current building regulations. The government’s expert panel advised that the results ‘show that this combination of materials can be compliant when installed and maintained properly’, though it has ‘not been informed of any tall buildings over 18 metres in England using this particular combination’.

Despite this, the government pointed out that the combination ‘could offer a possible solution for some buildings with other cladding systems which have been identified as a fire hazard through previous large scale tests’. The panel’s ‘clear advice’ however was that building owners ‘need to continue to take professional advice regarding remedial work that takes into account the specific circumstances of their building’.

The government stated: ‘The purpose of this testing programme is to develop a better understanding of how different types of cladding panels behave with different types of insulation in a fire. This is so building owners and their professional advisors can make informed decisions. Results of all 7 large-scale tests are available and government will shortly publish consolidated advice to landlords based on all the 7 tests.’