Boro Boy wrote:..The developers web site describes the cladding as "rain screen cladding" which although they would have also taken the opportunity to include insulation its main priority would be to stop the deterioration of the underlying concrete structure and the reinforcement by the ingress of moisture.
The cladding used in the refurbishment of Grenfell was Celotex RS5000 It's a PIR Insulation board "Designed to enhance the thermal performance of insulated façade systems" and "suitable for rainscreen cladding applications above 18 metres in height"
Whatever the product (and this one, with the polyethylene core is definitely suspect), cladding, whether for weatherproofing or insulation, is indeed a way of "tarting up" a building that needs attention. Even if not to increase the value, it is certainly to give residents a false sense that "something" structural has been done, at minimal cost.
The cladding in question has been blamed for a very serious fire in Melbourne some 3 years ago. In a report, the Melbourne Metropolitan Fire Brigade said the rapid vertical spread of the fire was “directly associated” with the external cladding..... exactly as with this one. Similar cladding was blamed for 3 major fires in Dubai. The idea of using an inflammable aluminium composite cladding on a building with only passive fire control was lunacy.
However, there are other things that need to be looked at - one of the residents tried to use a fire extinguisher, but it didn't work, the alarms didn't go off, the instructions for residents to stay in their flats led to them becoming trapped in the inferno. The fire control system was supposedly overhaule at the same time as the cladding was applied...... and another thing that was done was to upgrade the common central heating system. Somewhere along the line the passive fire control system failed and the fire spread from one flat to another and from one floor to another. How thois happened must be discovered and other similar tower blocks checked to ensure that, this time, lessons are learned.