The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) have written to us asking us to disseminate some information to our members in relation to fire safety and in particular the testing of Aluminium Composite Material.
We have, of course, agreed. In summary, DCLG are offering:
- In addition to the checks on residential blocks owned by social landlords, DCLG are offering private owners of residential buildings an opportunity to test cladding on blocks over 18 metres high through arrangements put in place with the Building Research Establishment (BRE).
These checks will be paid for by DCLG, and the information will be available to DCLG from BRE.
Where owners consider that they may have concerns about cladding on buildings over 18 metres high, they should follow the process as detailed below.
DCLG have provided an email for enquiries: PRShousingchecks@communities.gsi.gov.uk
The letter says:
Following the horrific fire at Grenfell Tower in North Kensington last week, we want to ensure you are aware of help that is available in checking your buildings.
There has been much public concern and comment about potential flaws in the cladding that was on Grenfell Tower. While the exact reasons for the speed of the spread of fire have yet to be determined, we have concluded that there are additional tests that can be undertaken with regard to the cladding. We have asked local authorities and social housing providers to identify whether any panels used in new build or refurbishment of their own housing stock are a particular type of cladding made of Aluminium Composite Material (ACM). These checks will be relevant to privately owned and managed residential buildings too, so please can you consider carrying out these checks on your buildings.
More details on how to identify this cladding are in Annex A attached (available here). It is important to stress that ACM cladding is not of itself dangerous, but it is important that the right type is used. If you identify that cladding on any of your buildings is made of ACM, then a sample can be tested. This testing facility is also being made available to blocks that are privately owned, and your local authority may already have been in touch to make you aware of this. The procedures for taking up this offer of testing, which will be paid for by DCLG, are set out in the annex. We are prioritising buildings over six storeys or 18 metres high. The offer is for the initial testing only and the cost of any remedial action will be the responsibility of the owner of the building. The information from the checks will be available to DCLG from BRE. Please contact us at PRShousingchecks@communities.gsi.gov.uk if you have any queries.
Where the entire block is not owned and managed by the same party, please ensure that only one sample is provided and that any necessary permissions are obtained for taking and sending off the sample. We would not expect individual leaseholders within a building to send off samples for testing.
As well as this work it is of course important that owners / landlords have robust fire assessments for their properties.
Thank you for your cooperation in this important work.
The full letter and attachment including the protocol for the sampling of Aluminium Composite Material Cladding is available here.
The data return form for testing of ACM (private residential) is available here.