Camden council: we ordered fire-proof #cladding but flammable fitted #Grenfell

In breaking news, it has emerged that Camden council in London commissioned cladding works specifying that fire-resistant cladding panels be used – but its testing has revealed that the same, flammable HDPE (high-density polyethylene) panels were used in the works – turning a building into another potential Grenfell Tower.

Journalist Pete Apps broke the news on his Twitter feed:

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with an image of a section from a council bulletin on the testing and the likelihood of consequent legal action:

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According to Apps, the cladding contract was awarded to Rydon and sub-contracted to Harley Facades – the same arrangement as took place with Grenfell Tower. The council has announced the urgent removal of the panels from the Chalcot Estate:

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This will come as grim news to survivors and neighbours of Grenfell Tower and will certainly feed into the Met’s criminal investigation.

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7 responses to “Camden council: we ordered fire-proof #cladding but flammable fitted #Grenfell

  1. Wirral Council’s executive member George Davies – see #Wirralgate scandal – made the following announcement yesterday:

    http://democracy.wirral.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?MId=6103&x=1&

    But was it yet another exercise in hollow windowdressing? Nowhere within it is there any reassurance that necessary, physical, on-site tests will be carried out ASAP. As it stands, hundreds of residents remain in danger, while the council seems to be cutting corners and abdicating its responsibilities.

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  2. The problem is “what is resistant”… all the cladding is rated 0 (UK standard meaning “fire resistant”), but that is not the whole picture. In Germany there is a similar standard, and another standard that is even stricter than the first (I believe in the UK this test is also used for the “FR” version that was not used).

    Both forms of cladding are rated as “fire resistant” as to the standards, but the second one has a much more stringent test that is a more “real world” testing environment. In simple terms, the first test has a flame aimed at the front of the cladding (which is the UK standard) and has to “resist” the fire for a given period of time, and the second has the flame aimed upwards at the cladding and again has to “resist” the fire for a given period of time.

    The second test is more stringent as it directly attacks the cladding at its weakest point, while also heating up (and melting) the filling further up in the cladding where as the first test only melts the filling, but doesn’t directly ignite it… which is why the non-FR rated cladding can be used on low buildings.

    To be honest… everyone from the standards “certification” industry, to the manufacturers, to the installers, to the designers, to the council, to the government, have had a part to play in this avoidable tragedy (which means sadly its likely that everyone will get away with it because no one person/corporate entity will be at blame) because the standards industry allowed a weaker standard to be “a pass”, the manufacturers because they sold both versions, the installers for buying the cheaper version, the designers for not specifying the “MORE fire resistant” had to be used, the council for not mandating the more resistant version, and the government for not legislating against the less resistant being allowed on any building (so removing all possibility of its usage – everywhere).

    For more information… this is a very informative article on the standards and their application: http://www.impact-solutions.co.uk/pe-cladding-and-fire-ratings-what-does-it-all-mean/

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    • There is a possibility that the gas supply was not isolated before the fire took hold and began its rapid spread outwards and upwards. Was there an accessible emergency shutdown valve? Some are stating that the cladding itself, fire-resistant or not, could not have fuelled a blaze of such intensity. But if live gas was feeding the flames throughout that would have been consistent with both the rapid spread and the periodic flare-ups that were witnessed.

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