(OK, it’s off topic, but this is another deeply disturbing example of profits being put ahead of safety, and commercial exploitation of weak or inadequate government regulation)
Fairview Architectural, a Unispec brand whose UK distributor is Valcan Ltd, posted a news item bragging that they secured the contract to replace the burnt out polyethylene core cladding responsible for a terrifying 2014 tower fire in the Lacrosse Apartments in Melbourne, Australia.
Incredibly, in spite of this first hand experience of the danger of polyethylene cored panels, the same company supplied their polyethylene core Vitrabond panels to the Evenlode and Windrush residential tower blocks in Oxford UK, through its UK office, Valcan Ltd. – and bragged about that too!
According to a recent article in The Telegraph, the polyethylene core burns like petrol:
Now, according to the Oxford News;
“FEAR and bewilderment has gripped families in Blackbird Leys following the revelation that the estate’s two towers are covered in cladding deemed a fire risk.
On Monday it emerged that samples sent by Oxford City Council to the Building Research Establishment had failed fire safety tests and will now be replaced.
It follows more than 12 months of refurbishment work on Windrush and Evenlode Towers as part on an ongoing £20m project to improve Oxford’s tower blocks, in which the cladding itself had cost £1.4m to install.”
However every cloud (of smoke) has a silver lining. Architectural cladding manufacturers have never had such a profitable year in prospect! Tens of millions of pounds worth of polyethylene core facades will have to be ripped off and replaced by fire resistant versions across the UK – BY THE SAME COMPANIES THAT SUPPLIED THE SUBSTANDARD MATERIAL IN THE FIRST PLACE.
Let’s hope that Oxford City Council ensures that the supplier responsible for this expensive disaster doesn’t get to profit from it for a second time.