The Building Research Establishment (BRE)—commissioned as part of an independent advisory council charged with investigating the deadly Grenfell fire—published findings last week after completing a scale test of the cladding applied to the North Kensington tower, which a BBC News correspondent calls "an absolute failure."
To test how the cladding, paired with the plastic insulation, used at Grenfell "behaves in a fire," BRE created a model unit to scale, and set it ablaze. According to the results, the test was terminated after only 8 minutes 45 seconds with "flaming several meters beyond the top of the rig," which measured almost 20 feet tall upon construction. At its peak temperature during the test, the cladding reached 1,495 F.
"The first system tested, a wall cladding system using an aluminum composite material cladding with unmodified polyethylene filler and foam insulation, failed the test which is set out in current building regulations guidance," the Department for Communities and Local Government wrote in a press release. "Immediate action is already underway to ensure the safety of residents in these buildings. But the results also make clear that we need to understand how current building regulations and fire safety works in order to make them as effective as possible in the future."
As such, the regulatory agency has called for another independent review specific to "the regulatory system around the design, construction, and ongoing management of buildings in relation to fire safety; related compliance and enforcement issues; [and] international regulation and experience in this area," which will be led by Judith Hackit, president of British manufacturers association EEF.
This news comes less than a month after the British government called for an inquiry into the cladding, which is suspected to be largely to blame for the rapid spread of the June 14 fire that killed around 80 people.
Read the full BRE report below: