"We have been working with David and the Cladding & Roofing team at Insite Group for many years and have always relied on their expertise, which is second to none.
So when the new regulations regarding Cladding Testing and Requirements we knew we would be in safe hands.
From testing, removal and replacement their support and service has been simply fantastic, giving us and our clients peace of mind."
- Associate Director
External Wall Fire Review
In 2019, following the Grenfell Fire, the following amendments were made to the UK’s Building Regulations titled ‘Approved Document B’ (England and Wales) and the ‘Technical Handbooks’ (Scotland).
Following an Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety, which was led by Dame Judith Hackitt, the government announced their decision to ban the use of combustible materials in high-rise residential and commercial properties.
The ban applies to the installation of combustible materials in external walls on buildings with a height of 18 metres or more introduced in October 2019.
Since 2018 over 400 high-rise blocks were identified as having unsafe Aluminium Composite Material (ACM), a type of external cladding, similar to that which failed at Grenfell Tower with cataclysmal effect.
What is an EWS1?
The EWS1 form is a biproduct of the intrusive investigation works which provide clarity on any potential risks to the spread of fire or non-compliant materials within an external facing. It was designed as a means of enabling competent fire experts to assess whether remedial works are required, in simple and clear pro-forma, from which lenders and valuers can assess whether remedial works affecting value exist. Our Cladding & Roofing team has facilitated several external Building Envelope Fire Surveys, to enable our Fire Engineers to issue an EWS1 form which satisfies mortgage lenders.
As a result of these regulations, Insurance providers have made it a requirement for testing on Cladding to be adhered to on any Residential or Commercial Property over the height of 18 metres. As a result, the use of compliant and fire-retardant cladding materials has now become more important than ever.
At Insite Cladding & Roofing, as a result of regulations, we been actively involved in testing for our clients processes that are in line with DCLG/BRE guidelines regarding certain Aluminium Composite Materials (ACM) being identified as non-compliant with fire and building regulations.
HOW CAN WE HELP?
At Insite Cladding & Roofing we have the inhouse resources to attend site and carry out disruptive inspections to help ascertain if there is indeed a Risk from combustible ACM’s. We ensure complete visibility throughout these works, to ensure Building Owners, Estate Agents and Leaseholders have access to the correct information.
Following the delivery of the Report, we will assist you in progressing any Remediation Requirements.
Insite Cladding & Roofing have been working in partnership with Fire Consultants and Building Inspectors to undertake External Wall Fire Reviews (EWS1) to identify and confirm whether external structures of the buildings meet fire and building regulations in line with Government’s guidelines.
EWS1 was introduced by RICS to aid valuations for high-risk, high-rise buildings. The process should be carried out in line with government guidelines (residential buildings above 18m). The process and stages for facilitating an EWS1 survey are outlined in the Process stages below.
The removal of Cladding Samples for testing is detailed in the following steps:
Two 250mm x 250mm sample sections of cladding are taken which contains the total cladding grading in place from installation:
Low level sample
Higher level sample
Sample Panels sent for testing consultant in accordance with DCLG guidelines.
Incorporated ACM is tested under BS EN ISO 1716:2010, screening the core material of the sample determining combustibility in the event of a fire.
Combustible ACM are identified by the following potentials:
Calorific potential < 3 MJ/kg – Sample meets the requirements for a material of limited combustibility.
Calorific Potential > 3 MJ/kg and 35MJ/kg – Sample does not achieve the requirements; however, Cladding does achieve some limited flame-retardant properties.
Calorific potential > 35MJ/kg – Sample Cladding does not meet the requirements and has no flame-retardant properties.
Once these steps have been completed, a report is issued, in collaboration with our testing consultant, providing recommendations and instructions required by your Insurance Providers.
If the initial inspection identifies the ACM as combustible, the next step is to submit a further sample section of the cladding system to be to tested BS EN 8414 – which is a considerably more intensive removal and testing process.
Under the guidance of ‘Approved Document B’ (England and Wales) and the ‘Technical Handbooks’ (Scotland), there are three routes to compliance with the fire safety requirements of the Building Regulations regarding the insulation in façades on buildings with a habitable storey 18 metres, or greater, above ground level.
A linear route to compliance is offered by the technical guidance given in Approved Documents B Volume 2: Fire Safety - Buildings other than Dwelling houses (separate editions for England and Wales), and Technical Handbooks Section 2: Fire - Domestic & Non-domestic (Scotland).
This route requires the insulation to be of limited combustibility (England & Wales) or non-combustible (Scotland), which, in this context, is defined by being a material that either is 'listed' or has met the required performance criteria after having been subjected to specific small scale fire tests.
A performance-based route is also offered. The guidance requires that the complete façade build-up meets the acceptance criteria set out in BR 135 (Fire performance of external thermal insulation for walls of multi-storey buildings), using large scale test data from:
BS 8414-1 : 2002 (Fte performance of external cladding systems. Test methods for non-loadbearing extemal cladding systems apptied to the face of a building);
BS 8414-2: 2005 (Fire performance of external cladding systems. Test method for non-loadbearing external cladding systems fixed to and supported by a structural steel frame)
Fire Safety Engineering Route
Compliance with the functional fire safety standards may also be demonstrated by alternative means i.e. the adoption of a Fire Safety Engineering approach.
With Cladding that has failed testing, the report results will identify the collective combustibility of the exterior cladding. As a result, a larger sample section of cladding will then be removed to identify whether the building will require a complete re-clad to be compliant with Building Regulations.
With these new regulations in place and them being immediate requirements from most Insurers Cladding Sampling for BS EN 8414 is now in high demand with considerable wating times.
Insite Cladding and Roofing are available to facilitate all your cladding compliance requirements from start to finish supporting all your requirements and documentation. Our detailed process gives you direct contact with our testing consultant and confidence with our 50 years of expertise in cladding maintenance and refurbishment.
We are then able to work hand in hand with your Cladding Consultant providing a Contractors view on methodology and assisting with budget costings thus allowing a more detailed, accurate solution.