Rainscreen cladding has been used widely across the UK in the last 40 years on a vast number of building projects. It has proven to be one of the most popular and effective choices of wall construction. However, without proper design and co-ordination through the manufacturing and installation of the cladding system, it can be prone to a number of issues, including fire safety.
The tragic incident of Grenfell Tower in June 2017 has left a lasting impact on the construction industry as a whole. New guidance and safety precautions for both existing and new buildings, particularly in regards to rainscreen cladding, have been implemented to ensure that a disaster like Grenfell will never happen again.
What makes rainscreen cladding a fire risk?
Rainscreen cladding uses a ventilation system to drain water and to keep the system dry. Without the proper precautions, the ventilation systems can also act as a chimney for a potential fire, helping it to spread. To combat this, the construction of the building must be designed to limit the potential spread of a fire with the use of cavity barriers and compartmentation. In addition to this, the materials used in the construction and installation of a rainscreen cladding should be classified as “Limited combustibility” to ensure that they are not a fire risk. Learn more about how rainscreen cladding can be designed and installed to minimise fire risks.
How can you ensure that your building is fire safe?
One of the ways that a building's fire safety can be checked is by looking at the operation and maintenance of building documents. These documents should include drawings and specifications of the building, and should provide information about the external wall system that has been used. There should also be documentation showing that a full-scale fire test has been conducted to the latest regulations. It is also important to make sure that the actual construction of the cladding has been properly inspected with a focus on fire safety.
At Bailey, we have extensive knowledge of the entire process of rainscreen cladding, from design and planning to manufacturing to installation, and the safety precautions that need to be taken in each stage. We also ensure that all of our products meet the fire safety standards and have been professionally certified to ensure that they are safe to use. If you have any questions about rainscreen cladding and fire safety, please don't hesitate to ask!
Specification of pressure equalised rainscreen cladding systems
The use of a pressure equalised (or moderated) rainscreen cladding system is mainly chosen for buildings four to five storeys high, or over 12 meters. The main principle of a pressure equalised system is to balance the flow of air and control water using the building envelope.