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Landlords warned over fire risk from cladding removal

17 Juillet 2017

Since the Grenfell Tower blaze on 14 June, which killed at least 80 people, much of the focus has been on the cladding used on the 24-storey block. Panicked landlords have begun removing the cladding from their own buildings, but according to experts, this is just making the situation more unsafe.

In a warning to councils, the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG) has told building owners "not to create conditions which may worsen the integrity of the cladding system..."

However, the government has now warned landlords that doing so could increase the risk of a massive blaze - as combustible insulation is being left exposed for weeks on end.

Starting three weeks ago, the same combustible panels as used on Grenfell were stripped from numerous flats in Salford by Pendleton Together Housing, which manages the properties for the city council.

Tenants are apparently anxious about their homes being left more vulnerable to fire than before.

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Since the fire, both the Celotex insulation and the Reynobond PE aluminium cladding have been withdrawn from sale - both of which were less expensive compared with non-combustible alternatives.

Arnold Tarling, a fire safety expert and chartered surveyor at Hindwoods, added that "it is definitely a fire risk now, when it might not have been in the past". They left exposed swathes of synthetic phenolic insulation which is rated either B or C for reaction to fire in British Standard tests, which means they are combustible. Exposed insulation on the exterior of a building is not safe because of the risk of the fire spreading over the surface.

'It doesn't comply with building regulations ...

"Now it is exposed, you only need some idiot after a night on the drink to conduct their own fire test and the whole block goes up". New rules explicitly state, "where sample panels are removed they should be replaced immediately with a suitable material".

Landlords warned over fire risk from cladding removal