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Over 100 towers fail latest fire safety tests

Cladding on more than 100 tower blocks across the UK has failed the latest government safety tests.

Results from the second wave of tests found that ‘as installed’ mock-ups of walls consisting of aluminium composite material (ACM) and a polyethylene filler with stone wool insulation did not meet current Building Regulations guidance.

According to the Department for Communities and Local Government, 111 buildings are known to have this combination of materials in their cladding systems, 90 of which are owned by either a local authority or a housing association.

The resulted of the tests, completed by the Building Research Establishment (BRE), are the second of six new tests designed to determine how different cladding systems perform when put into a full-scale simulated fire.

Results from the first of the six tests released last week found that the type of cladding used in 82 tower blocks failed safety tests. Of those, 47 were owned or operated by local authorities or housing associations.

All 111 buildings whose cladding failed the latest test also failed previous fire tests initially conducted by the BRE in the wake of the Grenfell fire on 14 June.

Last week the government announced plans for an independent review of fire safety and Building Regulations in the aftermath of both the Grenfell tragedy, which is known to have killed at least 80 people, and a separate fire in 2009 at Lakanal House in Camberwell south London. 

The review is to be led by the former chair of the Manufacturers’ Organisation Dame Judith Hackitt and will scrutinise fire safety in high-rise buildings, particularly the safety of cladding after questions were raised over the use of ACM panels in towers similar to Grenfell.

The review will report to both the communities secretary Sajid Javid and the home secretary Amber Rudd.

Commenting last week on the review, Mr Javid said: “Since the tragic Grenfell Tower disaster, the government has been working to make sure people living in high-rise buildings are safe.

“It’s clear we need to urgently look at Building Regulations and fire safety. This independent review will ensure we can swiftly make any necessary improvements.

“Government is determined to make sure that we learn the lessons from the Grenfell Tower fire, and to ensure nothing like it can happen again.”

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