Mitch Gee, Executive Chairman
It is of no surprise that wind load is high on the agenda of INCA. The issue has come up time and again, and is something that we, as the Trade Association representing the EWI Industry, are fully engaged with.
The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Sajid Javid, made the following statement when updating the House of Commons about Grenfell:
‘’Separately, the British Board of Agrément has told us that, based on its investigations following incidents in Glasgow, some cladding systems may have been designed and installed in such a way that they could fail in strong winds. We are not aware of any injuries caused by this kind of failure. However, we are taking advice from the independent expert panel and we have written to building control bodies to draw their attention to the issues that have been raised. The wider issues of competence and certification will also feed into Dame Judith Hackitt’s review of building safety, the terms of reference of which were announced last week. Finally, I have established an Industry Response Group, which will help the sectors required to improve building safety and to co-ordinate their efforts.’’
INCA is in discussions with the BBA over how best the industry can manage this situation. Wind Load Guidance also came up when we met with BEIS in October. We explained that external wall insulation has been used on high rise blocks for over 25 years, with very few known failures, and no evidence that EWI has suffered any greater degree of failure than any other cladding system. Furthermore, there is no evidence that the calculation of wind loads has contributed to any of these failures. Notwithstanding this, the BBA have identified an area of system design that can be improved, and post Grenfell it is important that responsibility for design is clearly established. INCA is working on a response to ensure where it is warranted by risk, an appropriate system is in placed among INCA member system holders to provide the necessary calculations.
In relation to legacy work, INCA believes there is a responsibility for owners of high rise buildings to have a responsibility to undertake regular maintenance checks on any cladding on high rise building. No cladding system has an indefinite life and such maintenance is essential to prevent the risk of catastrophic failure, irrespective of the type of cladding used. INCA’s technical committee will be considering what advice can be given to owners of high rise buildings that are clad with external wall insulation. The results of these considerations will be forwarded to all members.
If you have any comments, please do not hesitate to get in touch.