The UK’s only manufacturer of fire-resistant mineral-insulated cables believes the building regulatory system will remain ‘broken’ unless strengthening product certification standards becomes an urgent priority.
Wrexham Mineral Cables comments come as the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) apologised for failing to realise that the regulatory system in place at the time of the Grenfell Tower fire was “broken”.
As part of final statements made to the Grenfell Tower Inquiry, the housing department’s lawyer, Jason Beer KC, said: “The department recognises that it failed to appreciate that it held an important stewardship role over the [building safety] regime and that, as a result, it failed to grasp the opportunities to assess whether the system was working as intended.”
Wrexham Mineral Cables has been calling for more stringent testing standards for fire-resistant cables for many years as it believes too many cables – installed in buildings across the country – are classified as fire-resistant and yet are not fit for purpose in real-life fire scenarios.
Commercial Manager Steve Williams acknowledges that whilst improvements to building safety have been a step in the right direction, he firmly believes more needs to be done.
He commented: “Whilst the Building Safety Act will make everybody in the supply chain more accountable throughout the various stages of the building’s existence, we can only truly make buildings safe if the products installed are fit for purpose. Despite the lessons learned over the last five years, we do not believe this is the case, particularly when installing fire-resistant cables.
“Sadly, there are still too many cables classed as fire resistant but would not be adequate in the event of a fire, as the tests they undergo do not represent real-world conditions. For this reason, we have lobbied and will continue to do so, for all enhanced fire-resistant cables to undergo true fire scenario tests. We believe there should also be a higher classification of cables introduced to identify those that can survive, rather than simply resist fire. Ensuring that construction products’ tests are relevant and can be relied upon is the only way we can make buildings truly safe.”
Image source: Courtesy of Wrexham Mineral Cables
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