CMI Advisory Note: Combustible Facades

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Combustible Facades

CMI, in consultation with the Society of Fire Safety and leading Fire Safety Engineers have discussed the recent issues of combustible facades.

From these discussions, a number of issues have been raised in relation to the nature of wall systems which may contain multiple combustible elements such as insulation, weatherproofing or decorative cladding.

Concerns have been raised that Certificates of Conformance typically only focus on the subject of the certificate and its reaction to fire. There is a concern that, current certifications do not take into account the multiple combustible elements, which make up the rest of the wall system.

CMI feels that there is a valid reason to address the unknown impact of having multiple combustible wall elements (however low their fire hazard properties might be) and for the potential for these elements to contribute to an uncontrolled progressive external wall fire event with tragic consequences, as we have witnessed recently in London.

CMI in consultation with its Risk and Technical Committee has decided that the most responsible course of action, is to highlight the need for a full evaluation of all elements which make up a wall system, by adding the following Condition and Limitation to all wall system certifications.

Reaction to Fire: This Certification relates only to the subject wall elements reaction to fire, and no evaluation has been made of any other wall system elements used in conjunction with the subject of this Certification. As there may be a potential for multiple combustible elements to be incorporated in constructing the wall system, a review of the proposed wall system, in its entirety, to verify its compliance to relevant fire safety clauses of the Building Code, should be undertaken by an appropriately qualified Fire Safety Engineer as well as the projects authority having jurisdiction.

CMI feel that the inclusion of this Condition and Limitation will have the effect of highlighting the need for due diligence in the engineering and construction of fire rated walls as well as ensuring the safety of the occupants of the building.

John Thorpe Roni Bezic BEng(civ)
Chief Executive Principal Engineer