Fire safety has become a much bigger priority since the Grenfell Tower fire, and rightly so. There is still considerable work to do to make high-rise buildings safe for residents in the event that there is a fire.
An article for the Guardian recently highlighted just how much work there is to do in the UK in terms of replacing combustible cladding, like that which resulted in the disaster at Grenfell.
It pointed out that there were 436 high-rise residential blocks of over 18 storeys that have the same kind of aluminium composite cladding as that on Grenfell Tower. To date, there are at least 189 such buildings where no steps have been taken to remove or replace this kind of cladding.
The newspaper also noted that the government won’t have complete figures about the number of buildings that are wrapped in high pressure laminate (HPL) panels until March next year.
While some building owners are taking action to replace the cladding and make residential blocks safer, it’s clear that there are still many where nothing has changed.
Intumescent coatings could be something to consider to improve the fire safety of certain buildings. These are a type of fireproof cladding coating, which can have a number of benefits once applied to cladding on high-rise and other buildings.
For example, intumescent coatings are designed to withstand more heat than the cladding. As a result, these kinds of fire retardant coatings significantly reduce the speed with which the flames can spread in the event of a fire.
The coatings also come with a 25 year guarantee and if you come to us, will be applied by our professional and experienced team. There’s no need to take the cladding off site either, all the spraying can be carried out on site.
The government’s regulations about replacing HPL cladding relate to buildings of 18 storeys or higher, but Grenfell United has stated that this is an “arbitrary” height.
Inside Housing recently revealed that there are over 100,000 medium-rise buildings that fall outside of the scope for cladding replacement, but that are still at risk because they feature the same kind of cladding as that used on Grenfell Tower.
The news provider shared leaked minutes from a meeting between local authority figures and government officials, which found that lowering the threshold for a high-rise building to 11m would see the number of buildings that need to replace their cladding sky rocket.
An estimated 12,000 are considered to be high-rise buildings at present, but this would increase to more than 100,000.
What’s more, the news provider noted that the government’s current ban on using combustible cladding only applies to new buildings that are 18m tall or higher, which means buildings below this threshold can still use combustible cladding in their design.
The news comes after The Cube in Bolton caught fire last month and saw its HPL cladding ravaged by the flames. This property was 17.86m tall, meaning it just slipped below the height required by the new regulations.