Following the initial findings of fire safety tests on Grenfell Tower, CEP Architectural Facades, has released three images which we believe will be helpful to those trying to understand what happened.
For clarity, CEP is not the manufacturer of Reynobond PE. The manufacturer is Arconic Architectural Products.
CEP fabricated (ie cut to shape) two of the components in the building’s cladding system (rainscreen panels and windows) using materials, and to a design, specified by the Grenfell Tower design and build team.
Investigators have identified the role of the insulation material in Grenfell Tower. We assume they will want to understand why a class O fire spread rainscreen panel material and a class O insulation material were specified together.
Individually these materials can be integrated into a safe cladding system but certainly we recommend that in high rise buildings class O rainscreen panels should only be used in conjunction with a non-combustible insulation material such as mineral fibre.
The pictures below show that correctly designed systems using appropriate components contain fires extremely effectively.
The first image below shows a fire at Taplow House in Camden where a fire broke out in 2012. The cladding material on this building is Reynobond PE but the insulation is mineral fibre. As you can see, the fire did not spread. This is one of the towers currently having cladding removed.
The second image is Sudbury House in Wandsworth where a fire broke out in 2010. The cladding material was an aluminium composite material similar to Reynobond PE. Again, a mineral fibre insulation was used in this cladding system. Again, the fire was contained.
In the third image you can see the system behind the rainscreen panels in Sudbury House. What this picture shows is that in addition to the mineral fibre insulation and framing system the specially designed fire barriers have been triggered by the fire resulting in complete closure of the vented cavity, preventing further spread by compartmentalising the fire.