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High pressure laminate panels fail fire test

Another form of tall building cladding has failed a fire safety test. This adds additional pressure on landlords to renovate the properties despite the coronavirus.

High pressure laminate panels (HPL), commonly used to insulate tall buildings, were found to perform as poorly as the aluminum composite material cladding blamed for spreading the flames at Grenfell Tower.

The Metal Cladding and Roofing Manufacturers Association found that flames reached the top of the 9m HPL panel test wall in seven minutes and 45 seconds with temperatures approaching 700C. The test should last thirty minutes and the temperature recorded should stay below 600C.

Local Authorities and housing associations were given £600m to fund the removal of aluminum composite material (ACM), while £200m was found by the government to pay for privately owned buildings.

In the last few weeks has the government extended the scheme to cover a wider range of materials including HPL cladding, with an extra £1bn now made available.

However, with a number of Registered Providers of Social Housing reducing their development activity to budget for cladding removal costs, is this extra funding enough?