- Project plans
- Project activities
- Legislation and standards
- Industry context
Last edited 14 Dec 2017
Advice note for external wall systems that do not incorporate ACM
Aluminium Composite Material (ACM) panels are commonly used for cladding buildings, typically as a form of rainscreen. ACM cladding consist of two skins of aluminium bonded to either side of a lightweight core of materials such as polyethylene (PE), polyurethane (PUR), profiled metal or a mineral core.
ACM cladding became notorious following the Grenfell Tower fire on 14 June 2017, when ACM cladding with a polyethylene core was thought to have contributed to the rapid spread of the fire up the outside of the tower.
A series of guidance notes were issued following the fire for owners of other high-rise buildings clad with ACM cladding. However, On 11 December 2017, the Department for Communities and Local Government issued Advice for building owners: external wall systems that do not incorporate ACM.
The advice note was developed in consultation with the Department’s Independent Expert Advisory Panel and is intended for those responsible for residential buildings over 18 metres in height, concerned about the fire safety implications of external wall systems that do not incorporate ACM.
The note states:
“ACM is part of a wider range of Metal Composite Materials (MCM) faced with other metals such as zinc, copper, and stainless steel. Like ACM, the filler or core material of MCM panels varies between products and can include combustible materials. In addition, the facing materials of MCM have different melting points, therefore the fire performance may differ depending on the type of metal facing. Building owners should seek professional advice over the suitability of MCM cladding.”
“There are many different types of components used in the construction of external wall systems, for example, high pressure laminates (HPL) and rendered insulation systems, and all perform differently when exposed to a fire. It is, therefore, important that the right combination of products has been installed and maintained correctly, to ensure they adequately resist the spread of fire over the wall to the standard required by current building regulations guidance.”
Separate guidance, Advice for External Wall Insulation (EWI) systems with a render or brick-slip finish, was also published on 11 December.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- ACM cladding.
- ACM cladding testing by BRE.
- Advice for External Wall Insulation (EWI) systems with a render or brick-slip finish.
- Celotex RS5000 PIR insulation.
- Fire performance of external thermal insulation for walls of multistorey buildings, third edition (BR 135)
- Grenfell Tower articles.
- Grenfell Tower fire.
- Grenfell Tower independent expert advisory panel.
- Grenfell Tower Inquiry.
- Independent review of the building regulations and fire safety.
- Lakanal House fire.
- Rainscreen cladding.
Featured articles and news
The Chartered Quality Institute explain the pathway to success for organisations implementing management systems.
An introductory article looking at where a duty of care can arise in the construction industry.
House of Lords committee encourages the use of off-site manufacturing in new report.
Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) can go some way to show the impact of new buildings on their surroundings.
The shortlist for the 2018 prize for the UK's best new building is revealed.
Amendment to Bill aims to provide councils with greater powers to increase tax premiums on empty homes.
As the latest summer blockbuster 'Skyscraper' is released, we look at some of the best uses of buildings in film.
Read our introductory article on how to layout a building.
New cross-party report calls for combustible cladding ban to be extended to all high-rise residential buildings.
Dr Nicholas Falk, director of the URBED Trust, explains why metro cities are the future of urbanisation.