It’s not just landlords of high rise council tower blocks who should be concerned about the presence of combustible cladding on their buildings. Any building that has cladding panels containing Aluminium Composite Material (ACM) or similar may not be complying with the requirements of the current Building Regulations guidance and, more importantly, may be putting people in danger. It’s become clear that Grenfell Tower was far from the only building constructed this way and landlords of premises in the hospitality and leisure industry in particular are advised to be proactive in assessing the fire safety standards of their buildings.
Landlords should check the fire safety accreditation and building regulation compliance of any panelling on the building and contact their surveyors or architects for advice. Testing for ACM should be a priority and samples of such materials can be provided for verification to independent testing facilities such as The Building Research Establishment.
If the materials are non-compliant measures would include informing the local fire and rescue service for them to carry out urgent inspections. It may be necessary for the panels to be removed.
In addition, as a matter of good practice, full fire safety checks should be implemented including ensuring that all entrance doors, and doors that open onto escape corridors and stairways, are fire resisting and effectively self-closing. Also check all walls, plant and store rooms to ensure there are no obvious routes for fire or smoke spread such as holes where services, such as pipes and cables, pass through walls.
Smoke control systems, including associated fire detection systems, should be tested to make sure they are operating correctly and if there is no sprinkler system landlords are recommended to take advice on installation.