Experts focus on rapid fire spread up exterior clad columns

Aaron Morby 7 years ago
Share

Cladding used on Grenfell Tower, which has been widely blamed for spreading the blaze, is banned for use over 18m in Britain, Chancellor Philip Hammond confirmed this weekend.

The Chancellor said a criminal investigation would examine whether building regulations had been breached when the block was overhauled just last year.

His comments came as two cladding experts speculated that the fire spread rapidly up the clad external columns of the building jumping fire breaks because aluminium composition cladding appeared to have flammable polyethylene cores.

Although a planning application for the refurbishment of Grenfell Tower approved the use of Reynobond cladding, it did not appear to specify the use of the fire resistant version of the panels.

It is now widely believed, but not yet confirmed, that more flammable PE rated panels were used rather panels rated as fire resistant (FR) because they have a fire-retardant mineral core that guarantees higher resistance to fire.

A construction expert, with specialist knowledge of cladding, said: “Detailed photographs published in the media indicate fire spread on the column lines, and the distortion of the unburnt panels over the columns suggests heat was also also travelling downward within the column cladding cavity, ahead of fire.”

Screen Shot 2017-06-19 at 07.55.30

Grenfell tower pictures show fire and heat moved through cladding over exterior facing angled columns

He added: “The contract prepared by the local authority and/or its management organisation should have contained “employer’s requirements” clauses which clearly specified the expected fire performance requirements.

“Compliance with both these and statutory requirements for new building work should have been subject to technical scrutiny by both the project management and the approvals bodies, who should have recognised the highly combustible nature of the proposed cladding material.”

image002

Original building showing angled columns clad in grooved concrete panels

A cladding contractor with over 20 years experience told the Enquirer:  “On most of the after-shots you can see that the columns have suffered the most advanced stage of damage.

“Even on lesser damaged areas you can see that fire has affected the insulation both above and below the fire stop, which suggests that the fire rapidly destroyed the fire stopping within the column stacks, allowing fire to then transfer horizontally both above and below the horizontal fire stops.

“The horizontal fire stops would be a mineral fibre block with an intumescent strip, which expands outwards to fill the cladding ventilation void in the event of a fire. This only works if it has something to force against as it expands.

“If, as suspected the Reynobond cladding was type PE and therefore combustible then this would have failed at a very early stage rendering the fire stopping ineffective.”

He added: “The columns are also designed with a vertical rib or groves and although in the scale of things it would be a minor contribution I would be curious to see how the horizontal fire stopping overcame the void that would be formed between the back of the fire stop and the ribs of the concrete.”

Police are also now appealing for anyone with images or footage of the Grenfell fire to send them to their investigator’s via ukpoliceimageappeal.co.uk.

Latest news

BAM plans wave of job cuts at UK Construction arm

Co-op Live arena plunges Bam Construction to £19.5m first-half loss
10 hours ago

Robot tunnel builder goes into administration

Hypertunnel was hoping to revolutionise how underground structures are built
11 hours ago

“Scrap CITB” say three quarters of construction firms

Payroll giant Hudson Contract calls for CITB to be absorbed into new Skills England training body
10 hours ago

Wates to build £86m Guildford Council housing scheme

40% of the 248 homes will become council homes under partnership deal
11 hours ago

£100m Prestwich Village revival approved

Vinci and Willmott Dixon in chase for Muse-led regeneration scheme
20 hours ago

Carbon negative asphalt trialled on M11

Skanska and Tarmac test CO2 absorbing aggregate material on stretch of Essex motorway
12 hours ago

Father and son sentenced over covid construction loan fraud

Bristol builders given suspended jail sentences over bogus Bounce Back Loans
11 hours ago

Beck Interiors files administration notice

Supply chain has suffered delayed payments from £139m-turnover luxury fit out specialist
1 day ago

Green light for York Central civil service office hub

£60m office project accelerates York Central goods yard redevelopment
1 day ago

Blenheim House Construction enters administration

Administrators looking at options on present projects
2 days ago

Profits rise at Esh Group with more to come

Contractor confident about year ahead as market conditions move in right direction
1 day ago

Piling specialist Van Elle sees housing orders rise 30%

Mark Cutler says firm on course to deliver 10% annual sales growth
1 day ago

HS2 to spend £100m shutting sites where work never started

Remediation of sites no longer needed for cancelled Phase 2 will take three years
2 days ago

Willmott Dixon wins £61m deal for new Army dog unit

Contractor to revamp Kendrew Barracks in Rutland
1 day ago

Stockport advances 4,000-home Town Centre East plan

Council seeks consultants to steer plan for 280-acre area in the city
1 day ago

ISG sale imminent as buyers set-up UK holding company

South African nutrition entrepreneur and Australian partner primed to take over
2 days ago

CR Construction wins £210m Manchester towers

Construction to start next year on four blocks ranging from nine to 34-storeys
2 days ago

Southern Housing to rationalise supply chain following merger

Firms put on alert for £1.7bn construction framework renewal
2 days ago

Decision delayed on 52-storey Isle of Dogs tower

Hong Kong developer plans 460 flats block next to Millwall Inner Dock
2 days ago

Go-ahead for £850m North London estate rebuild

Flagship Edmonton housing estate redevelopment will deliver 2,000 new homes
2 days ago

Mace lands £184m Oxford Science Park contract

Contractor to build trio of laboratory and office buildings
3 days ago

Worker paralysed in 30ft fall during electricity pylon demolition

Specialist firm fined £240,000 after court hears linesman attached lanyard to a loosened steel section
2 days ago

Sir Robert McAlpine clinches £4bn Somerset gigafactory

2.6m sq ft car battery plant will require over 2,000 workers at peak construction
3 days ago

House builder Hill Group tops £1bn turnover

Group's controlled development pipeline stands at £10bn
3 days ago

Higgins wins 360 new homes job in south London

Firm will now work up planning for phase 2 of Brixton housing project
3 days ago

Kier starts £48m Ealing high school job

Northolt High School to be rebuilt for 1,130 pupils
4 days ago

Plans in for £64m Suffolk A12 upgrade

Work to start next summer on dualling and junction upgrades
3 days ago

Man suffers multiple fractures in HS2 accident

Engineering firm fined after fall leaves worker in hospital for two months
3 days ago

Go-ahead for Milton Keynes’ largest private rental project

Platform_ to build 20-storey scheme of 335 flat next to train station
6 days ago

A2Dominion reins in new-build and cuts development team

Housing association to stop private new build sales in big strategy switch
6 days ago

Contractor services