Remediating ACM cladding

Clay Technology magazine
7 Jun 2019

Hundreds of high-rise buildings with ACM cladding systems have not yet been remediated. an MP claims the government would have blood on its hands if it fails to act. Shardell Joseph Reports.

Government figures released in April 2019, have revealed that there are 345 high-rise residential and publicly owned buildings with aluminium composite material (ACM) cladding systems waiting to be remediated across England.

In the wake of the Grenfell Tower fire, it was identified that the ACM cladding contributed to the rapid acceleration of the blaze. The government has since coordinated a building safety programme to remediate the cladding, however, the report reflects the slow pace of work beign carried out, leaving tens of thousands of people across England still living in these high-rise residential buildings.

Of the 158 social sector residential buildings identified as having ACM systems, only 46 (29%) had finished remediation. For the private sector, just 41 of the 267 residential buildings (15%) had completed remediation. According to the government figures, replacing the cladding will take another five years at the current rate of remediation.

Soon after the figures were released, Labour MP Rushnara Ali called on the government to take faster action on replacing the flammable ACM cladding from private buildings.

Last month, the opposition warned that this slow pace means 40,000 people are still living in privately owned blocks wrapped in Grenfell-style ACM cladding, presenting a significant risk.

Minister of State Housing and Planning, Kit Malthouse, said the government is attempting to rectify ‘this awful situation’.

The government report on the remediation project reflects the larger initiatives of fire safety, post-Grenfell, in the construction industry. In response to Dame Judith Hackitt’s independent review of Building Regulations and fire safety, The Construction Products Association (CPA) in March 2019 issued a call for evidence about how product information is made available to the wider supply chain. CPA also established a marketing integrity group as part of the initiative.

‘The evidence base we are seeking will be a vital contribution to our work on reform post-Grenfell Tower fire,’ said CPA Deputy Chief Executive and Policy Director, Peter Caplehorn.

‘The survey results will help us make recommendations to ensure that consistent, unambiguous and clear product information on construction materials is made available to the wider supply chain. We need no reminder of how important this information is and I encourage as many responses to the survey as possible.’

As of December 2018, the government has committed to implementing all recommendations set out in Hackitt’s review into Building Regulations and fire safety following the Grenfell disaster.