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Tests reveal cladding on low-rise Peckham council block would set alight under ‘intense fire situations’

Fire safety tests have revealed cladding on a council low-rise block would set alight under “intense fire situations”.

Tests carried out on cladding panels from Medina House, in Peckham Rye, have revealed that it would withstand a “single-flame heat source” – but would rapidly ignite or spread if exposed to “intense radiant heat”.

Bureau Vistas, who carried out the tests, said in a report that the cladding panels “had the potential to ignite and sustain spread of burning under intense fire situations that might be expected to occur from a fully-developed compartment fire venting through a window”.

The insulation foam from the cladding also ignited when directly exposed to a flame during tests – but rapidly self-extinguished once the flame source was removed.

The foam did not ignite when contained within the panel and the panel was exposed to a single-flame heat source.

Cladding from Canute Gardens, in Rotherhithe, did not ignite or spread flame under both applied single-flame source and intense radiant heat conditions.

Bureau Vistas advised that cladding from Medina House “might not be considered compliant with the ‘material of limited combustibility’ requirements of Approved Document B for external cladding” and should undergo further testing.

Councillor Stephanie Cryan, cabinet member for housing, said: “As the results explained, the is no concern over the cladding at Canute Gardens and further testing will take place at Medina House – please note this is not a high-rise building.  We work closely with London Fire Brigade and specialist surveyors and contractors – should they advise that any remedial works are required, we will talk to residents about this immediately.”

Anood Al-Samerai, leader of the Southwark Liberal Democrat Council Group, added: “Liberal Democrat councillors are concerned that there are questions over a number of blocks in the borough and the council must act urgently and transparently.

“Residents need to see all the fire risk assessments for their blocks and enquiries about cladding, cracks, gas pipes or anything else need to be investigated immediately.”

The council also sent cladding samples from its Rotherhithe Old Road and Jarman House buildings, but no further investigation was needed.

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