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ICA unveils flammable cladding protocol

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The Insurance Council of Australia has collaborated with Engineers Australia and Fire Protection Association Australia on a protocol to identify and address inappropriate use of aluminium composite panels (ACP).

The panels, some of which have a flammable core, have been blamed for a series of devastating fires in high-rise buildings across the world, including last year’s Grenfell Tower tragedy in London, which killed 71 people.

The Insurance Council says following the protocol will ensure consistency across all jurisdictions.

“The protocol guides the production of a report, by qualified engineers and testing laboratories, that can be consistently recognised by insurance risk engineers and underwriters – the industry professionals who must determine if a building can be insured and at what premium,” GM Risk Karl Sullivan said.

“The report produced through this protocol includes identifying when a building with ACP can be considered low-risk and when intervention, up to and including replacement of cladding, may be necessary.”

Meanwhile, FM Global, one of the world’s largest commercial property insurers, has proposed a new testing protocol for ACP. It says some products are not currently subjected to fire testing, but are judged through “desktop assessments”.

“While many fire engineering firms perform desktop assessments in good faith, current practices and regulations introduce the possibility that substandard, dangerous assemblies will slip through the cracks,” said VP Manager of Research Louis Gritzo.

“We can’t afford to take this risk as buildings burn and lives are lost, even in the developed world.”

To see the Insurance Council protocol, click here. To read the FM Global report, click here.