DCLG has commissioned six BS 8414 tests using a combination of materials, including the make-up of the outer cladding system.
The first ACM Cladding test, carried out by BRE which produced the test data released today, combined an assembly of PIR insulation used in conjunction with an unmodified polyethylene filled ACM cladding panel. This combination of materials does not meet Building Regulations and would never be recommended or approved for use by the members of BRUFMA in a real building.
The result is as expected and therefore it is worrying that a number of buildings has been identified with this combination, indicating a lack of compliance to existing rules and regulations.
Currently the BRE tests are being carried out in pairs, with two types of insulation – PIR and mineral wool – each being tested in conjunction with each cladding system. It is necessary and advisable to wait until all six tests are complete before any meaningful conclusions can be drawn and solutions proposed.
It is in the interests of all concerned that a full analysis of all the results is conducted together. From this, clear guidance will be issued as to which combinations of insulation and cladding are acceptable in relation to the current regulations.
Only in this way will the government be able to demonstrate the safety of buildings and provide an accurate picture to owners and residents across the country.
It is important to state that PIR insulation manufactured in the UK and Ireland which is recommended for use in high-rise buildings is successfully tested to the BS 8414 fire test as part of a complete ventilated rainscreen system. Tests are carried out to show that PIR insulation can meet the onerous performance requirements of BR 135 and is thereby approved for use on buildings above 18m in height.
28 July 2017