FIRE SAFETY tests carried out by Hampshire County Council have confirmed ‘a small percentage’ of Aluminium Composite Material (ACM) has been found in ‘a very small number’ of council-owned buildings.
The material is the same as was used in the cladding on London’s Grenfell Tower, and the tests follow the fire disaster at the apartment block which claimed more than 80 lives in June.
Hampshire County Council found community building, the Dickinson Centre, in the grounds of Havant’s Park Community School, is fully cladded with ACM.
The building is a single-storey, non-residential one, which the council said is not used by the school for children’s education.
The council assessed its 9,000 buildings, including 526 school sites (some of which include numerous buildings) – and said at this stage of its detailed assessment a ‘very small percentage’ of ACM is contained ‘in a very small number of buildings’.
These buildings are predominantly brick-built and the material has been typically used for rain screening.
A spokeswoman for the council confirmed a ‘marginal’ amount of ACM was also found on two other buildings on the Park Community School site, and said: ‘Of the overall construction materials used in those buildings, ACM represents far less than five per cent.’
Due to the Dickinson Centre being a ground floor-only premises, evacuation procedures are more straight forward, according to the council.
On that basis, and in conjunction with advice from Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service, it is not proposing to take any immediate steps – but will keep the position under review in accordance with any changes to national building regulations and lessons learned from the ongoing national responses to Grenfell Tower.
Leader of Hampshire County Council, Councillor Roy Perry said: ‘Our priority has been to immediately assess any buildings of potential risk. The county council does not have any high-rise residential buildings. Of our five school buildings that are four-storeys or higher, no ACM cladding has been used.
‘Therefore, on this basis, I am advised that none of our buildings present any concerns to safety.
‘I am satisfied with the technical advice I have received to date, particularly with regard to the Dickinson Centre.’