Grenfell Tower: what is a filler material?

In my last post, I argued that the core of an ACM panel cannot reasonably be described as a filler material. The Government, and also to its shame the Building Research Establishment, have been doing precisely that, and as a consequence the new usage has passed to some extent into common parlance. But what is at issue is what the term ‘filler material’ meant at the time that the Grenfell Tower refurbishment was being planned and executed. I do not believe the term was ever used in a publicly available form to refer to the ACM core prior to the terrible tragedy of 14 June 2017, and I ended my last post by challenging the Government to produce even a single instance of such usage.

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Grenfell Tower: is the core of ACM panels a ‘filler material’?

I have been examining three alternative rationales offered by the DCLG for their claim that the core of ACM panels is covered by paragraph 12.7 of Approved Document B2:

1. The ACM core is an insulation material or product;

2. The ACM core is a filler material;

3. All elements of the cladding system are covered, and so the ACM core is covered.

As I explained in part 1 of this series, the first of these rationales may be excluded immediately because ACM cladding has no insulation function. I showed in part 2 that common sense, logic and informed opinion rule out the third rationale, the application of 12.7 being clearly restricted to insulation and filler materials, with any further coverage limited to minor unspecified items.

In this post I demonstrate that that the core of cladding panels made of Aluminium Composite Material cannot properly be described as filler material. As I pointed out before, the DCLG itself finds this a doubtful proposition since in footnote 4 of its Explanatory Note on safety checks and testing of 30 June 2017:

with its ‘and/or’, the core is claimed to be either an insulation material/product, or an filler material, or both (but not neither!) So, according to the logic of this footnote at least, the ACM core could be just an insulation product and not a filler material at all.

Continue reading Grenfell Tower: is the core of ACM panels a ‘filler material’?