Fire Resistance of Exterior Cladding Materials


The Grenfell Tower fire that occurred in London on June 14, 2017, is a recent tragic example of a safety issue that has been plaguing the building industry for some time—specifically, the use of combustible materials with a high propensity for flame spread as part of a building’s exterior wall system. Accounts of this event report at least eighty deaths attributed to the fire, with another seventy injured.

Early reports suggest that the fire began in a fourth-floor apartment and that the point of origin may have been a fridge-freezer. The building had recently been reclad with aluminum composite panels, which are reported to be the main contributor of fuel for the fire. The event triggered an interest in checking other similarly clad buildings in Great Britain and elsewhere.

This article was originally published in the September 2017 issue of RCI Interface, the technical journal of RCI, Inc.