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Cladding concerns go beyond fire after latest tests

7 September 2017

Concerns over cladding have spread beyond fire risks in the wake of Grenfell, according to the latest update from the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG). 

In its latest update and consolidated advice for building owners following large-scale testing, the DCLG states that cladding on some blocks in Glasgow have been identified as possibly unsafe in high winds, while concerns about the Ledbury estate in Peckham, south-east London, have also been raised, as the block needs urgent reinforcing to prevent a possible collapse. 

The update comes following tests carried out by the Building Research Establishment (BRE) in which, of 173 high-rise social housing blocks fitted with aluminium cladding, just eight passed building regulations connected to fire safety.

Twelve weeks after the blaze that devastated the west London block, killing at least 80 people, Sajid Javid said tests carried out found 165 blocks with unsafe cladding.

Updating the House of Commons on the response to the fire, the communities secretary said local authorities had been advised what steps they needed to take.

While the BRE facilities had been made available for owners of private high-rise blocks, just 89 of these had so far been tested, he added.

Large-scale BRE tests on 173 local authority blocks over 18 metres tall known to have ACM cladding found only eight passed the relevant building regulations, known as BR135, Javid said.

Of seven combinations of ACM cladding and internal insulation which were tested, four fell short of what was required and three met standards, Javid said. The versions which failed safety tests were used on 165 blocks.

Javid said: “The owners of affected buildings have been given details drawn up by our independent expert advisory panel. This covers steps to ensure safety of residents including, where necessary, removal of cladding.”

Javid also outlined that meetings with local authorities and housing associations to discuss further steps would happen soon and include the process to ensure that remedial work is carried out.

He urged all private owners of similar blocks to submit samples for testing and asked that housing authorities ensure the same steps are taken for all private sector residential tower blocks in their areas and to collect the data to gain an understanding of the scale of the issue and to track the remedial action.

Comments

Most buildings do not need the cladding, one has a self finish of Structural Concrete, precast Concrete, blockwork, brickwork, EIFS systems etc.
Do the Value Engineering, the above elements function without the cladding, saving time, costs and unnecessarily complicates the building envelope

Thomas Power, 11 September 2017

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