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Combustible cladding needs to be removed due to fire safety risks, so how do we stay safe while completing the removal process?
When the government announced that there would be a nationwide review of cladding materials used in buildings, it started a massive undertaking likely to take years. Although the UK government has pumped hundreds of thousands of pounds into the replacement of cladding, the process has been slow thus far.
The government set aside an initial £3.5 billion to deal with cladding replacement or removal in publicly owned buildings. The fund was later expanded and includes private leaseholders that may now apply for grants to help mitigate the costs.
Here are some ways that companies who replace or remove your cladding should be managing fire safety risks, while they work.
The 5 Best Ways to Manage Fire Risks During Cladding Removal and Replacement
If you need to have your buildings cladding replaced or entirely removed, here are the 5 ways your specialist firm should be following fire precautions.
1 – Working with Local Fire Safety Officers
Fire safety officers are trained to be able to spot, highlight, and fix fire safety issues. Any contractor that comes to replace or remove cladding from your building should have consulted with local fire safety officers to ensure every stage of the removal process is fire safety checked. Ordinary contractors simply don’t have the knowledge and skills to identify fire safety risks.
The local fire officer should be brought in at the beginning of the project for consultation. They should spend time creating risk assessments for each stage of the process. Your construction company then has suitable information to draw from to create fire-safe steps for combustible cladding removal.
2 – Hire a Specialist Cladding Removal Team
Although it is possible to remove some cladding from a building yourself, it is not safe to remove combustible materials as a DIY project. Similarly, if you live in a high rise building, you won’t be able to safely remove the cladding on your own portion of that building safely. Firms who specialise in removing cladding are safest because they have the training to do so.
ASD build replace cladding on apartment blocks and properties throughout England. They are a specialist in removing and replacing combustible cladding and can advise you on cladding remediation if you need guidance.
3 – Place Control Points
Implementing fire safety control points throughout the cladding removal process will make it far easier to minimize the fire risk throughout. These control points should be allocated from the initial fire safety risk assessment plan. You should be able to mark out key moments in the process when the fire risk is greatest. If you can identify these areas as control points, it is then only a short step towards performing checks at the required time and recording that the check was made.
4 – Account for Materials
A proper inventory should be taken through every stage of the process to ensure that the materials used in the removal are controlled substances. Fire safety risks should remain low if the proper oversights are accounted for. One of these factors lies in the materials used in removal. If they are likely to cause sparks, the materials should be replaced with safer options.
5 – Eliminate Sources of Ignition
All areas around cladding replacement should be considered no smoking. This must be closely monitored for accountability purposes. A rotary saw is often used in the removal of ACM cladding since it is used to cut the bolts free[i]. This can produce sparks and the risk needs to be overseen. There should be no smoking, and fire retardant coverings should be used wherever possible.