Call for fire tests transparency as 75 buildings fail

Aaron Morby 5 years ago

Industry fire experts are calling for much greater transparency around what type of fire testing regime is being used to check cladding systems.

Cladding is being removed from buildings from Plymouth to Liverpool
Cladding is being removed from buildings from Plymouth to Liverpool

Questions are being raised after the Government revealed the total number of buildings with condemned cladding has soared to 75  – 100% of all those tested.

So far the Government has only confirmed that the Building Research Establishment combustibility test has three categories rated 1 to 3.

It has been judged that cladding material falling in category two or three does not meet the requirements for limited combustibility in Building Regulations, although the details of what this test involves has not been revealed.

Some industry professionals are concerned that the Government has applied the most stringent Building Regulation guidance that only allows materials of limited combustibility or Class A2.

But building elements do not need to comply with A2 grading if fire tests prove the system as a whole meets the requirements to BS8414.

Experts have warned that far more comprehensive tests on the entire cladding system are needed to establish if buildings are at-risk including the insulation and design details such as fire stops.

A cladding contractor and former fireman told the Enquirer: “Nobody knows what the three-stage tests are that they are applying to samples sent in, but all are failing.

“The letter states that the ACM should achieve A2 standard to comply with Building Regs but Approved Document B does not say that. We can’t understand where they are getting their information from.

“It’s highly likely they are failing tower blocks unnecessarily. ”

The shadow housing secretary, John Healey, warned the House of Commons that “cladding is not the whole story”.

Fire risk consultant Stephen Mackenzie said: “The government is fundamentally flawed in its use of the BRE to conduct overly simplistic and limited fire test samples and not the complete cladding assembly.

“The small scale tests on external panels need to to be extended to a full disassembly.”

Another source told the Enquirer: “We are still not being told what materials or systems are failing – is it just Reynobond (PE) cladding or other materials? More information is required.”

In an update on the failed number of cladding samples found on buildings within 26 local areas, Communities Secretary Sajid Javid said the Government was also working with the Government Property Unit to oversee checks on wider public sector buildings.

“Hospitals are well prepared – each one has a tailored fire safety plan,” he said.

“But nothing is more important than the safety of patients and staff, so on a precautionary basis we have asked all hospitals to conduct additional checks.”

Across the wider government estate 15 buildings have been identified as requiring further investigation.

Latest news

Race starts for £500m Scottish zero carbon hospital job

Bidding starts for new University Hospital Monklands near Airdrie
50 mins ago

Manchester airport taxis out £60m terminal 2 pier job

Bidding to start before the end of 2022 for project start early next summer
51 mins ago

Plan for 1,100-home complex at Leicester factory site

Galliford Try investments plots Corah Factory transformation
2 hours ago

Axed House by Urban Splash staff plan legal action

Ex-workers consult with lawyers following administration
2 hours ago

Summer slowdown fears as latest contract award data droops

Latest Barbour ABI Snap Analysis paints uncertain picture
1 hour ago

Farrans wins £39m Somerset recycling hub

Site preparation gets underway for Keynsham Recycling Hub
2 hours ago

Balfour gets green light for £250m M25 junction 10

Autumn start for M25 junction 10/A3 Wisley interchange improvement scheme
3 days ago

Leeds plumbing contractor sinks with loss of 30 jobs

Dickinsons Plumbing and Heating goes down but renewables arm salvaged in sale
3 days ago

HS2 achieves first diesel-free construction site

Skanska Costain STRABAG JV runs Kilburn site with green kit
3 days ago

Administration confirmed at House by Urban Splash

160 jobs lost following "operational issues" at modular factory
4 days ago

Network Rail fined £1.4m after worker crushed by track machines

Judge highlights "many layers of failure" within site management
4 days ago

Kier picked for £350m Leatherhead regen plan

Property arm to draw up plans to redevelop two large town centre sites
4 days ago

Two seriously injured in London steelwork collapse

Two steel erectors left fighting for their lives after collapse at Ardmore site
4 days ago

Urban Splash modular staff start looking for new jobs

Work stops at House by Urban Splash factory and housing sites
4 days ago

Building facade specialist CMS goes into administration

Building envelope firm had turnover of £43m
5 days ago

Office work uplift returns construction output to growth

New commercial work drives output uplift for the first time since the pandemic
4 days ago

More suppliers wanted on £683m waste power plant

Meet the buyer event for North London Heat and Power Project: Register now
5 days ago

Vistry Partnerships lands £128m London flats deal

Legal & General signs up firm for 480-flats over five buildings in Wandsworth
5 days ago

HS2 Project Bank Accounts “not worth paper they are written on”

Subcontractors furious after payment protection promises evaporate in wake of Roadbridge collapse
5 days ago

Taylor Wimpey to tear down half-built £48m Hackney Wick scheme

Concrete frame to be demolished after discovery of "potential structural issue"
5 days ago

Data centre work lifts TClarke orders to record high

Orders hit £585m, more than £100m on last year
5 days ago

BAM lands largest ever fit-out job

Firm to fit-out landmark 12-storey Edinburgh St James Quarter 'ribbon' hotel
6 days ago

Winners revealed for £1.1bn demolition framework

Pagabo confirms 29 firms on new deal: Full list
6 days ago

Spie boss joins United Living as new MD of infrastructure

United Living rebrands Fastflow Energy and Pipelines businesses
6 days ago

Vinci/McAlpine JV wins £90m rehab hospital

Main contract award for National Rehabilitation Centre
6 days ago

Phoenix ME forecast revenue to rebound by 20%

London M&E specialists expects to return to around £200m revenue this year after set back last year
5 days ago

Roadbridge UK went down owing £60m

Supply chain owed £22.5m with little chance of any return
6 days ago

Bid race for tunnels on £150m Tube station upgrade

Bidders day on 27 May for Elephant and Castle capacity upgrade tunnels
7 days ago

ISG joins structural steel re-use project

Project aims to cost out business model for whole value chain from client to demolition contractor
6 days ago

Major hotel plan for Birmingham Central Methodist Hall

Three-storey rooftop extension will form part of historic hall restoration
6 days ago

Contractor services