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Update on DCLG results of the last two large scale cladding system fire tests

Date: 25/08/17

Update on DCLG results of the last two large scale cladding system fire tests

The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) today released the result of the sixth and final large scale cladding system fire tests. This was preceded earlier in the week by the publishing of the seventh test’s results. A previous briefing from 17 August provides more information about the general nature of the tests and summarises the results of the previous five tests which were published at the end of July and earlier in August.

The sixth and final of the initially announced test related to a combination of Aluminium Composite Material (ACM) cladding with a limited combustibility filler (category 1 in screening tests) in combination with stone wool insulation. The test result showed that this combination of materials does meet the criteria set out in Building Regulations guidance and, therefore, is one of the three tests which has passed. All the combinations which have passed the test could offer possible solutions for buildings with other cladding systems which have been identified as failing to meet Building Regulations although the government’s expert panel has noted that cladding and insulation materials can vary between manufacturers and can have different calorific values.

The seventh test, which was done in addition to the six tests initially announced by the Government tested wall cladding system consisting of Aluminium Composite Material (ACM) cladding with a fire retardant polyethylene filler (category 2 in screening tests) combined with phenolic foam insulation. The decision to run a seventh test was on the advice of the government’s expert panel to further build the evidence available for building owners so they can make informed safety decisions. Following the testing of this material combination the government’s expert panel advised that the results show that the combination of materials used in the test does not meet current Building Regulations guidance with 22 buildings over 18 metres having been identified in initial screening tests as being affected. All these buildings failed the earlier combustibility tests while their owners were notified of this and advised appropriate immediate interim safety measures.

As with all previous tests, DCLG issued advice notes to correlate with each test results release. These are available here. A final note summarising the entire testing regime is expected to be released next week.