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First Large - Scale Cladding Test Result

1 August 2017

Government Announces Further Large-Scale Cladding System Tests

On 20th July the government announced that it was commissioning further large scale tests of cladding systems using various combinations of materials. The purpose is to help building owners make decisions about any further action they need to take to make buildings safe, and or assure themselves that existing cladding systems are already safe.

The tests involve building a series of 9 metre high walls. 6 combinations of cladding systems are to be subjected to the BS8414 test procedure.

You can read this announcement here.

On the 29th of July the government announced the first test result. The first test was of a wall cladding system consisting of ACM with polyethylene filler (Category 3) and foam insulation, with fire breaks and cavity barriers in place. The expert panel appointed by government to oversee the tests advised that the results show this combination does not meet current building regulation guidance.

“This combination of materials therefore presents a significant fire hazard on buildings over 18m.

  • 82 buildings are currently known to have this combination of materials in their wall cladding systems - 47 of which are local authority or housing association owned or managed. (Comment-do we assume that the other 35 blocks are in the private sector?)
  • the government has issued advice to every building owner known to be affected and other interested parties, and will ensure that where local fire services have advised works are essential to ensure the fire safety of a building, current restrictions on the use of financial resources will not prevent them going ahead.”

You can read the announcement about the test result here.

Advice for building owners: Large-scale wall system test with ACM with unmodified polyethylene filler with foam insulation

Accompanying the test result was a note of advice for building owners with the cladding system which has failed the first large-scale test.

“Firstly, and while building owners are considering further actions they should take, based on the advice from the Expert Panel it is recommended that they:

Ensure they have implemented the interim measures set out in DCLG’s letter to Local Authorities and Housing Associations on 22 June 2017, and act on them immediately if they have not already done so, in particular to ensure the local Fire and Rescue Service has visited to complete a fire safety audit to assess mitigations. An email should be sent to if a Fire Service visit is needed. The Expert Panel have reviewed and confirmed that the interim measures remain sound, and will help ensure safety of residents as any remediation work is planned and undertaken. “

You can read the full advice note here.

The interim measures set out in the letter of 22nd June can be read here.

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