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682 Polyethylene core cladding panels used on residential high rise building

Report ID: 682

Published: Newsletter No 47 - July 2017

Report Overview

A reporter is writing as a precautionary measure following the Grenfell Tower Fire to say that a similar type of rainscreen panel, ie a polyethylene core with metal skin, was used at a residential tower block which they visited in 2011. It is believed that this block is privately owned so would not necessarily be picked up in a review of buildings owned by local authorities and housing associations.

Report Content

A reporter writes as a precautionary measure following the Grenfell Tower Fire to say that a similar type of rainscreen panel, i.e. a polyethylene core with metal skin, was used at a residential tower block which they visited in 2011.  The reporter does not know if the panels were used on all floors and all elevations and it is possible they have since been replaced. However, they believe this needs to be reviewed and assume that someone somewhere is doing a review of all buildings with similar panels so that this information can be fed into the proposed Inquiry. It is believed that this block is privately owned so would not necessarily be picked up in a review of buildings owned by local authorities and housing associations. Privately owned blocks may get overlooked in this review.

The 'Insulated render and cladding association' (inca-ltd.org.uk) might be able to assist in identifying suppliers, contractors and projects to support this review. It might however be difficult to identify all the different panels of this type that have been used due to the various trade names that have been used. The British Board of Agrément should be able to provide a list of similar products for which they have provided a BBA certificate. The French Agrément organisation and other similar European organisations might also be useful, as could the RIBA product finder and simple internet searches.

The reporter is aware that the role of expanded polystyrene insulation in the spread of flame has previously been raised in fire investigations in other blocks and considers that a similar review should be carried out for high rise buildings with EPS insulation.

In general, the reporter believes it would be useful to hold a register of high rise buildings and what cladding system has been used. This would make it much easier to take proactive measures in the event of problems arising.

Comments

A central point for collecting data on the fire has been set up by DCLG, but this report was received before it was established so this report was passed to the relevant Local Authority. Similar reports that identify specific buildings will be passed to DCLG without the name of the reporter being given, if that is the reporter’s wish. It is hoped that the data base will be updated with details of what steps have been taken in relation to cladding and associated safety matters. There will be a great deal said and written about this awful tragedy but until there are recommendations from the Inquiry, or from other authoritative sources, CROSS will only comment on factual statements. 


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