We are aware of an article in the Scottish newspaper “The Sunday Mail” dated 18th June which refers to a number of projects at West Dunbartonshire, Scotland. Alumasc is cited in this article as the supplier of the Alumasc Swisslab Grey EPS system on high-rise buildings. However, there are a number of inaccurate statements in the article with regard to Alumasc and we would therefore comment as follows:
The Alumasc Swisslab Grey EPS system was approved for use on buildings and compliant with Building (Scotland) Regulations both before and after the changes made to those Regulations in 2013.
The statements in the article that the panels were “sub-standard”, “had been deemed a potential fire hazard”, were “suddenly changed to ‘low risk'” and required an “exemption to building standards” are therefore wholly inaccurate.
The article claims that “the cladding used across the council area is called (Alumasc) Swisslab Grey EPS.” However, there are references to and photographs of high rise buildings that had systems that were supplied by others and not by Alumasc.
Indeed, the Alumasc external wall insulation (EWI) system supplied on behalf of West Dunbartonshire Council under this scheme was for low-rise properties only and no high-rise buildings were supplied by Alumasc.
The article also refers to the “Grenfell-style cladding” and implies misleadingly that the Alumasc EWI system used on the West Dunbartonshire scheme was similar to the rainscreen cladding system that was reportedly used at Grenfell Tower.
There were a number of significant differences between the two systems which the article does not comment on. The key differences include:
1. The Alumasc EWI system has been extensively tested and includes a non-combustible mineral render that encapsulates the EPS insulation. The Alumasc EWI system was not finished with the polyethylene cored aluminium composite material (ACM) panel that is widely reported to have clad the Grenfell Tower; and
2. The Alumasc EWI system was directly fixed to an existing masonry substrate. The article references that voids can “act as a chimney for flames”. However, there is no such void between the insulation and outer skin of the EWI system supplied by Alumasc to this scheme.
Finally, we would like to reassure our customers that the EWI system that we supplied to Turner Facilities Management was at all times safe and remains so.
We have specialised in the design and manufacture of EWI systems for over 25 years and safety issues have, and continue to be, a key consideration for us on all our projects across the UK. Our systems have been approved by the British Board of Agrément, including an attestation that Alumasc’s systems can meet the requirements of the building regulations pertaining to the spread of fire.
If any of our customers have any concerns or questions, please refer to our website (www.alumascfacades.com) or contact us on 01744 648435.”