Britain Orders Fire Safety Tests for High-Rise Cladding

Fire alarm in case of emergencyThe Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) ordered British councils to submit a portion of exterior cladding from tower blocks, following the Grenfell Tower fire incident.

Local authorities will immediately need to inspect cladding materials used for high-rise buildings to make sure these are flame-retardant to avoid another fire accident.

Safety Requirements

The DCLG’s order covers councils that have buildings with aluminium composite material cladding reaching more than 59 feet. These areas must submit testing samples of the material to the government unit to determine their safety qualities and compliance.

It scheduled the examination of samples on June 20 to check if these materials are combustible. While the investigation of Grenfell Tower continues, the submission of samples will allow the government to find out whether or not cladding systems for buildings require certain upgrades.

Other than cladding, other aspects of maintenance work include commercial HVAC repair. M&E Maintenance Solutions Ltd agrees that UK property owners must recognise that the Grenfell Tower accident is not isolated to high-rise apartments.

Sprinkler Systems

The installation of automatic fire sprinkler systems within tower blocks can serve as added safety measure, although the government should not be responsible for promoting their use, according to former Housing Minister Brandon Lewis.

Instead, the fire-safety industry should urge property developers to equip buildings with sprinkler systems. That is because obliging developers to install the systems could affect their decision of building more homes. Demand for housing remains strong amidst a lack of supply.

This complicated situation of balancing the interests of public safety and housing should influence the government’s consideration of reviewing building regulations.

Owners of high-rise buildings should not seek to cut corners when it comes to proper maintenance of facilities. Despite the seemingly high costs of routine inspections and repairs, these expenses are worth the lives that can be saved.