top of page

GLOSSARY A-Z

ACM cladding
Aluminium Composite Material - the type of cladding used on Grenfell Tower. In materials science, a composite is where two or more materials are combined together to create a new material. In this case, aluminium facing skins are compositely bonded with a core material such as combustible polyethylene.

Brick slips
Replicates the appearance of brickwork masonry walls without the time-consuming bricklaying process on site. Typically made of 'slices' of brick 1-2cm thick which may be mechanically fixed to the wall or installed in a similar method to tiling, or can be supplied as pre-manufactured cladding panels which are hung or attached to the external wall system. To the untrained eye it can appear as if the wall is made of traditional masonry.

Building Safety Fund (BSF)
A Government Grant Fund consisting originally of £0.6bn for ACM cladding, followed by a further £1bn for non-ACM cladding. On 10th February 2021, the Government announced an additional £3.5bn, taking the total pot to £5.1bn. The fund is to pay for the removal of unsafe cladding on residential buildings where the cost of removal would ordinarily fall to the leaseholders through the service charge.

Cavity barrier
An installation required to seal concealed cavities and gaps in wall systems and confine the spread of fire and smoke, for example in the void behind cladding, or around openings in walls such as window frames. This prevents the cavity acting as a chimney and prevents air being drawn in to accelerate the fire.

CDM Regulations 2015 (Construction Design and Management Regulations 2015)
Legal requirements placing health, safety & welfare duties on various parties involved in the planning, design and construction on any project, including cladding remediation, that is scheduled to last longer than 30 days with more than 20 simultaneous construction workers, or that will exceed 500 person days. The Client to the project (typically the Residents' Management Company or freeholder depending on project set up) has specific legal duties it must comply with right from the earliest planning stages.

Cladding
The definition of cladding in the BSF Grant Funding Agreement is: components that are attached to the primary structure of a building to form a non-structural surface and includes the weather-exposed outer layer or screen, fillers, insulation, membranes, brackets, cavity barriers, flashing, fixings, gaskets and sealants.

Compartmentation
Referring to measures to resist the spread of fire and smoke internally between individual flats and communal areas by dividing the building into a series of 'compartments' which are effectively individually sealed by fire stops and allow a 'stay put' fire policy. Issues can include (but are not limited to) incorrect or missing sealing or collars around service penetrations for cabling and pipes; incorrect or insufficient sealing at joints between walls and the floor or ceiling slabs; plasterboards or other materials with incorrect fire rating forming the dividing walls; or issues with apartment front doors. 

Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015
-see CDM Regulations 2015

DLUHC
Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities. The Government department currently led by Secretary of State Michael Gove, and responsible for the Building Safety Fund and other policies relating to the Building Safety Crisis.


EPS Render
Expanded polystyrene (EPS) is a type of external insulation that directly forms the outer wall itself rather than being installed behind other types of cladding panels. The EPS is finished with a white or coloured acrylic render a few millimetres thick to form a weatherproof face and create a continuous looking wall without joints. To the untrained eye, this type of wall appears solid so it can be surprising to realise the wall consists merely of polystyrene. Think of the render in a similar way to paint, in that it is simply a finishing coating material several mm thick; the real danger is what is covers. EPS is the worst rated class E or F under BS EN 13501-1 meaning it is highly combustible. EPS doesn't look like what most people associate to be cladding but its replacement is eligible for non-ACM BSF funding.

EPS Render
Expanded polystyrene cladding

EWS1 Form
A form and survey process devised by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) to determine if remedial works are required to the External Wall System of residential buildings. It consists of 5 ratings:

Option A where external wall materials are not combustible
A1 - no balconies ("attachments") or walkways, or balcony materials are not combustible. No remediation required.
A2 - balcony materials are combustible but fire risk is low and acceptable. No remediation required. 
A3 - balcony materials are combustible and fire risk is unacceptable. Remediation is required.

Option B where external wall materials contain combustible material
B1 - fire risk is considered acceptable. No remediation required.
B2 - fire risk not considered acceptable. Remediation is required.

It is intended to aid mortgage lenders with valuations and the survey must be carried out by a competent professional who is a fully qualified member of a relevant professional body. It is not directly linked with the aims of the Government's Building Safety Fund or the proposed Fire Safety Bill. RICS guidance states that the EWS1 Form does not replace the need for a Fire Risk Assessment, and the EWS1 Form is not a life safety certificate. One EWS1 Form is required per building, and it is valid for 5 years. Click here for latest RICS guidance.

Expanded polystyrene
-see EPS Render

Fire breaks
Any measure designed to block or delay the spread of fire and smoke, both between compartments and communal areas and in external wall systems. Can include cavity barriers; cavity closers; sealing or collars around service penetrations for cabling and pipes; sealing at joints between walls and the floor or ceiling slabs; fire rated dividing walls; and properly installed fire rated apartment front doors with automatic closers. 

Fire Risk Assessment (FRA)
The legal requirement to undertake regular FRA's of the common areas of the building stems from the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety Order) 2005. There are 4 types of FRA identified by the Local Government Association guidance "Fire safety in purpose-built blocks of flats". Type 1 and 2 involve non-destructive and destructive sampling respectively to the common parts of the building. Type 3 and 4 go beyond the legal requirements and involve non-destructive and destructive sampling respectively to the flats as well as common parts.  

Fire Safety Act 2021
Legislation that aims to clarify grey areas around duties and responsibilities of building owners and the Responsible Person under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety Order) 2005, particularly regarding external wall systems and flat front doors into communal areas.

High Pressure Laminate
High Pressure Laminate (HPL) panels are a form of cladding typically manufactured by layering sheets of wood or paper fibre with a resin and bonding them under heat and pressure.

MCM cladding
Metal Composite Material. In materials science, a composite is where two or more materials are combined together to create a new material. In this case, metal (commonly zinc, copper or stainless steel) facing panels are compositely bonded with a core which can include combustible materials. Since the Grenfell Tower tragedy and the introduction of the EWS1 Form, the term MCM seems to have become used specifically to describe metal cladding that does not consist of aluminium, even though Aluminium Composite Materials are technically part of the wider family of MCM cladding.

McPartland Smith amendment
Originally a proposed amendment to the draft Fire Safety Bill by Conservative MPs Stephen McPartland and Royston Smith whose intention was to protect leaseholders from costs of remediating historic fire safety defects. Now a proposed amendment to the Building Safety Bill with similar intentions.

Non-ACM cladding
A broad definition. For the purposed of the Building Safety Fund, it is any cladding system (see definition of Cladding above) that isn't comprised of Aluminium Composite Material. It can include other Metal Composite Materials, High Pressure Laminate, timber, brick slips and EPS rendered insulation. 

PAS9980
A publicly available specification published by the British Standards Institute. It provides a methodology for the fire risk appraisal of external wall construction and cladding of existing multi-storey and multi occupied residential buildings. See here.
 
Rendered EPS
-see EPS Render

RICS
Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors. The creator of the EWS1 Form.

Soffit panel
Soffit is the underside of part of a building such as an overhanging roof. If you think of cladding as being applied vertically to walls, you can think of soffit panels as essentially the same thing but applied horizontally on the underside of building features.

Spandrel panel
In the context of high rise buildings, a spandrel is an infill panel within a glazing system used in place of a window.

bottom of page