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UK Regulations Review Guidelines Released

Monday, September 4, 2017

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New guidelines for the review of U.K. building regulations have been released, following the Grenfell Tower fire and the subsequent fireproofing testing that revealed over 200 buildings were at risk.

The Tests

After the Grenfell Tower fire in June, U.K. authorities conducted fireproofing tests on six combinations of cladding and insulation, which was later expanded to seven. According to the BBC, FR cladding passed the test when paired with non-combustible insulation. Fire-proof aluminum panels with plastic combustible insulation also passed, but many other combinations failed.

Natalie Oxford, CC-SA-BY 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

New guidelines for the review of U.K. building regulations have been released, following the Grenfell Tower fire and the subsequent fireproofing testing that revealed over 200 buildings were at risk.

The results of the cladding and insulation tests were:

  • Test No. 1 indicated that ACM panels, with an unmodified polyethylene core and a rigid polyisocyanurate foam, failed.
  • Test No. 2 also used the same kind of paneling and core, but with a stone wool insulation. This test also failed.
  • Test No. 3 used ACM panels with a fire-retardant polyethylene core and a PIR foam insulation, also failing to pass.
  • Test No. 4 used the same elements as Test No. 3, but with stone wool foam insulation. This combination passed the test.
  • Test No. 5 used ACM panels, which used a limited combustibility filler with PIR foam insulation. This also passed testing.
  • Test No. 6, which used ACM cladding equipped with a limited combustibility and stone wool insulation, also passed.
  • Test No. 7, the latest, used ACM with fire retardant polyethylene filler with phenolic foam insulation. This test also failed, however.

The Guidelines

On Wednesday (Aug. 30), about a week after the final test results were released, the guidelines for the Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety were published. Dame Judith Hackitt, a British engineer and civil servant, is leading the investigation.

According to the Review release, the purpose of the independent investigation is two-fold: ensuring that regulatory systems are robust enough for the future, and to ensure that current buildings remain safe for residents.

The guidelines include:

  • A review of the current regulatory system;
  • Evaluation of competencies of key personnel;
  • Evaluation of the theoretical cohesion of the current system and how well it functions;
  • Comparison against international regulatory systems;
  • And issuing recommendations in order to provide a focus on high-rise residential buildings.

A final report will be released in the spring.


Tagged categories: Fire; Fireproofing; Health and safety; Passive Fire Protection; Testing + Evaluation

Comment from Jesse Melton, (9/5/2017, 7:32 AM)

That second bullet is the scary one. The one where a bunch of people end up taking a test designed by some quango that has at least one cladding manufacturer at the Board level. Everybody will pass and the next time a building burns it'll be somebody else's fault.

In fairness, it might actually be somebody else's fault. Why did nobody test these materials and their combinations before putting them on the market? Over 200 buildings is a lot of buildings. For buildings over 150m in London that's everything built over the last six years. That's a tremendous problem. Who gets the equally tremendous bill for addressing it?

Comment from M. Halliwell, (9/5/2017, 11:47 AM)

You'd think the fires in the Middle East (what, has nobody heard of Dubai and the aptly named "The Torch"?) might have clued folks in. Guess not....

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