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28-09-18

NFCC fully supports latest advice from Expert Panel regarding ACM cladding

The National Fire Chiefs Council fully supports the latest advice that the removal of small or partial amounts of ACM cladding on buildings is the clearest way to ensure the safety of residents and firefighters. This relates to ACM cladding which is classed as category 2 or 3 ACM.  

The guidance, published by the Independent Expert Advisory Panel (September 29th 2018) gives advice to building owners, who have properties which are partially covered with ACM cladding.  This follows the panel becoming aware of some building owners receiving advice suggesting it may be acceptable to leave small or partial amounts of ACM cladding on buildings.  The advice also applies to building owners’ professional advisers and fire and rescue services.

The independent panel’s view is that leaving any amount of ACM cladding on a building would continue to pose a hazard to residents and firefighters in the event of a fire. The panel believes the clearest way to ensure the safety of residents is to remove all ACM cladding and replace it with a safe material. It has clearly stated this remains the most appropriate remedial solution.

Nick Coombe, Vice-Chair of NFCC’s  Protection and Business Safety Coordination Committee, said: “NFCC fully supports the guidance from the Expert Advisory Panel to remove partial ACM cladding from buildings as this is the best way to ensure residents’ safety.

“It is also important that where ACM is identified, building owners should ensure they put recommended interim safety measures in place. This includes informing their local authority and fire service, which will carry out an inspection and ensure appropriate measures are implemented. These mitigation measures should only be in place for a limited timescale until the cladding can be removed.”

NFCC has never considered ACM3 and combustible insulation complies with Building Regulations. It also believes fire and rescue services which are aware of partially clad buildings in their area need to have a risk-based and pragmatic approach to remediation. It is important this does not hold up dealing with fully-clad buildings that present a far greater hazard.

Building owners need to ensure residents are fully-informed and engaged with any decisions taken with regard to fire safety. This includes sharing professional advice they have received, in a format which is easy to understand and accessible.  

The advice is written to those responsible for the safety of residents of high-rise buildings (over 18 metres) residential blocks of flats, but may – in certain circumstances – be applied to other premises.

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