BRE: Fire Performance of Cladding Materials

Research is essential to prevent mistakes re-occurring and the British Research Establishment provides evidence of their work following on from the Grenfell Tower fire, London.

Octavian Lalu, Senior Fire Safety Scientist at the BRE, has announced that the BRE “state-of-the-art government research programme” regarding the fire performance of cladding materials has been published.

More than 20 different types of rainscreen materials have been tested using a unique intermediate scale experimental procedure developed here at the BRE.

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The results are in the public domain and can be accessed here: gov.uk/government/publications/fire-performance-of-cladding-materials-research
The results showed that none of the samples investigated has the same or a similar type of fire performance to that of ACM PE panels.

In 2018, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) commissioned testing into the burning behaviours of a range of non-ACM cladding materials. The aim was to identify if there were other types of cladding that burn like the type of metal composite material which was present on the Grenfell Tower, which was an aluminium composite material (ACM) with an unmodified polyethylene core (called ACM PE, or ‘ACM category 3’).

The tests were undertaken by the Building Research Establishment (BRE), on advice from the Independent Expert Advisory Panel (Expert Panel), set up in the aftermath of the Grenfell Tower fire.

The research showed that none of the materials tested performed the same or even similarly to the type of cladding believed to be on Grenfell tower, ACM PE.

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