Yesterday, the Department for Communities and Local Government issued a letter to councils, building owners and housing associations to "draw attention to the likely issues which will arise when building owners carry out recladding work on tall buildings (above 18m in height)..."
The letter adds that, where panels are removed from the exterior of buildings, "care should be taken not to create conditions which may worsen the integrity of the cladding system. This could include exposing insulation or other materials to rain which can affect structural integrity and water tightness, or leaving material exposed which could reduce fire performance.
"Where sample panels are removed, they should be replaced immediately with a suitable material which ensures continued compliance with all the applicable Parts of Schedule 1 to the Building Regulations including Approved Document B guidance."
Salford Council, via Pendleton Together, hasn't just removed 'samples' of panels, it's slowly stripping the whole lot, leaving all the insulation exposed to the elements.
Further on, the letter adds "The building structure, insulation and cladding should be designed and installed to minimize risks from moisture. This includes ensuring that alterations to the cladding system protect the structure and substructure from rain penetration, and particular attention should be paid to coping, flashing and drainage details to ensure that insulation material is not at risk of becoming wet and that structural materials are not at risk of rot or corrosion."
It's just a complete mess – and there's more mess to follow because if the Council does change the cladding to something safer, the letter explains that it could lead to condensation within flats...
"Consideration also needs to be given to the risk of interstitial condensation (condensation within the wall/cladding structure) which can result from a change in fabric performance where alternative materials (particularly insulation) are substituted" it states "...Cladding and insulation can make a building more airtight and so reduce the amount of ventilation inside the building. This can potentially lead to condensation, mould growth and ill health. Additional ventilation may be needed..."
Four days ago, the Salford Star reported that the Insulated Render and Cladding Association's Best Practice Guide, written with contributions from Kingspan Insulation, included a guide to using phenolic foam which is the key component of Kingspan Kooltherm K15 used on Pendleton blocks...
"Should not be left exposed for long periods of time to direct sunlight and rain" and "Should not be used if effected by rain until it has been dried out and assessed as being fit for purpose..."
See previous related Salford Star articles...
*Channel 4 News reveals that Kingspan Kooltherm K15 insulation was used as a component in the cladding system of Grenfell Tower – click here
*GM Fire and Rescue Services states 'Remove Insulation' if can't prove it's safe – click here
Read the full Government letter - click here