A leading UK manufacturer of fire-resistant mineral insulated cables has called for unidentified fire safety hazards to be put under the spotlight, or else, it says, more lives could be put at risk.
Last month, the UK government set out a five-point plan to address unsafe cladding issues including an additional £3.5 billion in funding for the removal and replacement of cladding on buildings over 18 metres in height. This was welcomed by the Association for Specialist Fire Protection (ASFP); however, the ASFP did not believe it went far enough and should be made available to cover all identified defects.
Wrexham Mineral Cables is adding weight to the ASFP’s arguments. The company believes it is the identified issues – such as the installation of inferior fire-resistant cables – which need to be put under the spotlight and addressed in order to make tall buildings safe.
For many years, Wrexham Mineral Cables has been calling for more stringent testing standards as it believes too many cables – which have been installed in buildings across the country – are classified as fire resistant and yet are not fit for purpose in real-life fire scenarios.
Steve Williams, Commercial Manager at Wrexham Mineral Cables, commented: “Whilst we welcome calls to look at all identified fire safety hazards, we believe the call for change needs to go much further. Sadly, there are simply too many cables classed as fire resistant but that would not be adequate in the event of a fire, as the tests do not represent real-world conditions. All over the UK, this is putting lives at risk.
Higher classification needed
“We strongly believe there should be a higher classification of cables introduced to identify those which can survive, rather than simply resist fire. There should be no compromise, and as an industry we can no longer aim for minimum compliance to get the job done. Whilst legislation such as the Building Safety Bill 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 by identifying all possible hazards, and ensuring that the tests which construction products are subjected to are relevant and can be relied upon.”
Wrexham Mineral Cables contributed to the call for evidence by the Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety led by Dame Judith Hackitt, and has lobbied the UK Government for their support in calling for more stringent tests.