‘Potentially unsafe’ cladding used on Cardiff development

‘Potentially unsafe’ cladding used on Cardiff development

THE CLADDING, now pulled from sale by the government, was used on the £23m Cardiff Bay development.

Wales Online reported on the reveal that the Cardiff Bay development used the Vitracore G2 cladding, which was ‘identified as potentially unsafe’ and pulled from sale, with government officials believing that the particular type of product sold in the UK is ‘different to the product supplied for testing’, which was ‘considered highly fire-resistant’.

The product’s UK distributor Valcan suspended sales, but claims that the product for sale ‘is no different than the cladding provided for testing’, and ‘still achieves the fire safety standard’, with independent tests having ‘shown it’s safe’. When originally tested, the product was graded as A2 and of ‘limited combustibility’, but a government investigation found samples ‘contained more’ combustible adhesive than the original test.

It stated: ‘Although this, on its own, does not confirm that the product would not meet the A2 classification it is clear that the samples do not match the specification, as set out in the original A2 classification report. Therefore it may not achieve the fire safety standard it has been classified to. We have taken immediate action and referred this matter to Trading Standards and asked the supplier to withdraw the product from the market until it can demonstrate it meets the required standard.’

Previous tests undertaken by competitors found that the cladding would fail the A2 safety test, with Valcan contesting the tests’ results and ‘the way they were carried out’, with director Simon Tennent stating that the company was ‘co-operating with the government to supply test samples and documentation’.

He added: ‘We willingly suspended sales of Vitracore G2 in the UK after the unspecified and as yet unverified test by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government claimed a variance in the tested panel’s constituents may affect its fire safety standard certification. We are yet to see the full details and the nature of the test even though it was promised latest last week, however we believe that the product continues to achieve the required fire safety standard.

'Although we dispute the MHCLG findings, as a responsible company we have immediately initiated a manufacturing process review plus independent tests to verify if any inconsistency in the product adhesive can be confirmed. We can confirm that the glue layers are consistent and that our factory is ISO9001 registered and is independently audited.’

The Marine and Property Group, which manages Bayscape’s 115 apartments, claims that the site is ‘among the safest in Cardiff’ and has a ‘high level of fire systems’ that mean it has been ‘over-engineered’ to ensure fire safety. It added that it was ‘so confident’ in the cladding’ safety that it would be used in the development’s second phase, and the development was designed to fire safety ‘would not be compromised’ should the cladding be reclassified.

Fire safety within the building include a non combustible reinforced concrete construction, fireproof insulation installed with pipes, and sprinklers alongside fire resistant lifts. The cladding also has fire retardants within it so there are ‘no fire paths’.