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Government widens cladding study to improve fire protection in tall buildings

29 October 2018

Increased risk assessment studies for buildings are being carried out by the government as another effect of the Grenfell Tower disaster in London last year.

Announced by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG), the study will assess risks from non-aluminium composite material (ACM) cladding.

The MHCLG issued an advice note for owners of buildings that feature components such as spandrel, window and infill panels, according to Construction Manager.

This follows the forming of a panel of experts with the aim of identifying if additional advice and guidance was required for those using non-ACM cladding materials.

In addition to advising owners of buildings of more than 15m in height and their FMs not to delay removing any spandrels assessed to be unsafe, the government is also highlighting the need to examine design information records.

Another action to consider is checking that products had not been substituted at any point, said the government.

Building owners, FMs and their service providers should check manufacturer recommendation on fire performance or request test certification.

In cases of uncertainty, investigations should include sample testing of panel composition, seeking professional advice and taking care not to disturb materials such as asbestos, the government advised.

The MHCLG said its experts had advised that the best way to ensure materials do not post a risk of spreading fire is to make sure that these are "limited combustibility or better".

Any panels failing to meet this criteria should be removed and replaced, it said.

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