Experts advise further insulation and cladding tests

A panel of experts have suggested large scale insulation and cladding tests to help landlords make decisions on measures they may need to put in place to make their buildings […]

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By Priyanka Shrestha

A panel of experts have suggested large scale insulation and cladding tests to help landlords make decisions on measures they may need to put in place to make their buildings safe.

It follows the fire at the 24-storey Grenfell Tower, which led to at least 79 deaths.

The tests will help establish how different types of Aluminium Composite Material (ACM) panels in combination with different types of insulation behave in a fire.

That will involve building a nine-metre tall demonstration wall with a complete cladding system, including panels and insulation fixed to it. It will be subject to a fire that replicates a severe one in a flat breaking out of a window to see whether it will spread up the outside wall.

The tests will be undertaken by the Building Research Establishment (BRE).

The Expert Advisory Panel, appointed last week, has also recommended issuing further practical advice on immediate steps landlords can take to identify their wall materials, including insulation.

The government expects to publish it shortly.

The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) states: “The expert panel has concluded that six combinations of cladding systems should be subject to the BS844 test procedure. The detailed design of each of the six will be reviewed by the panel to ensure that it is representative of the systems that are in common use including the way it is fixed.

“The six systems will incorporate each of the three common types of aluminium composite material panels, with core filler materials of unmodified polyethylene, fire retardant polyethylene and non-combustible mineral. The two insulation materials used in the testing will be rigid polyisocyanurate foam or non-combustible mineral wool.”

Energy and water suppliers previously pledged a support package for victims of the Grenfell Tower fire.