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Written Statement - Large-scale tests – Further test results on the fire safety of building cladding

Carl Sargeant, Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Children

This statement provides a further update to members on whole-system tests undertaken by the Building Research Establishment (BRE) following recommendations by the UK Government Expert Panel established in the aftermath of the Grenfell Tower disaster. My written statements of 28 July and 3 August referred to the first test and second test results.

Further results relating to tests 3 and 4 have now been released by the Department for Communities and Local Government. These relate to:

  1. Test 3: ACM with a fire retardant polyethylene filler (category 2 in screening tests), and Polyisocyanurate (PIR) foam insulation; and
  2. Test 4: ACM with a fire retardant polyethylene filler with mineral wool insulation (Category 2 in screening tests).

Test 3 failed the whole system test, due to the flame spread extending above the test apparatus. The test result shows that this system failed to meet the criteria set out in BR 135 as required by the current Building Regulations guidance. A further, seventh, test will now be added to the schedule to follow the 5th and 6th tests. This is intended, to give a more complete picture, testing ACM with fire retardant polyethylene filler (category 2 in screening tests) with phenolic foam insulation.

The system in Test 4 is similar to the combination in place on 4 buildings owned by the City and County of Swansea, samples of which had previously been tested by the BRE. The tested system passed the test, which is a positive development. Of course, landlords and owners must continue to draw on all expert advice and guidance in relation to their individual buildings.

I will continue to update members as the testing regime continues.

This statement is being issued during recess in order to keep members informed. Should members wish me to make a further statement or to answer questions on this when the Assembly returns I would be happy to do so.