RISK FIRE. The british government has officially recognized that the siding was the cause of the rapid spread of the flames during the fire of the Grenfell tower, London. Hundreds of tests of fire resistance is in progress on apartment towers. In France, a comprehensive report on the fire regulations in buildings is expected by ten days.
Since the fire, a murderer, who hit a high-rise building of 24 floors, in London, killing 79 people dead, many experts pointing their finger to the cladding of the tower. The latter was suspected of having allowed the very rapid spread of flames along the building. Today, it is no longer a mere suspicion, but the official position. On 22 June, the first british minister, Theresa May, has launched in emergency tests of fire resistance on the cladding of hundreds of buildings similar to that of the Grenfell Tower.
“The government has decided to conduct tests on the cladding for all the residential towers of this type”, she said. The responsible british said to have already obtained information that some tests had revealed an immediate risk. “The local authorities and the fire services were informed, and at the time when I speak to you, all the measures are being taken to secure the buildings and to inform the affected residents.”
“We can test 100 buildings per day”
“We can test a hundred buildings per day, and the results come in a few hours”, also claimed Theresa May. “I insist strongly with the owners of buildings of this kind that they send us a sample of the siding so that we can test out the faster.”
The results of these tests will be immediately communicated to the local authorities and firefighters. On the ‘tweet’ below, you can see one of these levy made on a building facade.
Specialists using abseil equipment are removing samples of cladding from this tower block in Barnet, to be sent off for further testing. pic.twitter.com/Y3pxyhi6Jq
– Jamie Grierson (@JamieGrierson) June 22, 2017
Wall claddings are being removed from some of the façades
Some local communities, in addition to the Channel, are already on the bridge to identify and intervene on the buildings representing a risk. Thus, according to the Guardian, the council of Camden, a district of London, has already decided to remove the siding of five residential towers, composed of aluminum panels with a core of polyethylene (as, apparently, the Grenfell Tower).
Theresa May has also stated that an independent investigation would be opened. “All the stones will be returned”, she thundered. “And for the guilty, there will be no place to hide.” The results of tests of resistance to fire carried out on the cladding of the Grenfell tower will be known within 48 hours.
The question of the nature of the cladding
In a first time, the uk government had reported that 600 buildings were potentially affected by a fire risk equivalent to the Grenfell tower. In view of the magnitude taken by the information, they have corrected : only seven rounds have so far been identified as carriers of the same siding as the fateful turn.
There remains the question of the nature of the cladding. No official source gives, for the moment, these details. But according to our colleagues ofEngineering&Technology, the thermal insulation of the exterior was made up of panels of aluminium-polyethylene (3 mm), and fifteen centimetres of insulation “PIR” polyisocyanurate. This last product would have been able to, according to Sky News, release of toxic gases by burning.
Is this scenario possible in France ?
Such a scenario verification of the mass of the fire resistance of the siding is it news ? For the moment, no. The ministry of territorial Cohesion has asked the CSTB to carry out a comprehensive audit of fire safety, for the purpose of targeting the key issues on this topic. The public authorities have left ten days at the CSTB to finalise the report. This shows that the issue is taken very seriously by the authorities. And this in spite of the requirement of the fire regulations French.