Reader's Responds - Draft 2
According to the article"Use of Cladding in Buildings Here Have Grown in Recent Times," by Faris Mokhtar (2017), cladding is used to make buildings more sustainable but it also increases the risk of building safety. The Grenfell Tower in Kensington was engulfed by the blaze due to the flammability of the cladding during the installation process. The usage of cladding increased recently as it improves buildings through enhancement of the appearance, blocking of noises, providing rain protection and an insulation for the buildings. Application of cladding may vary with climates. In colder climates such as London, cladding is filled with thermal insulation. In hotter climates such as Singapore, cladding serves as an extra facade layer to provide shading but it increases the risk of fire safety as it is more permeable. Enforcement of SCDF authorities on fire standards may assist in minimizing the potential hazards of cladding to ensure it is safe for infrastructures.
An island-wide inspection on buildings with cladding was carried out by SCDF and it was found that 36 buildings’ cladding had failed to meet the class 0 standard. SCDF tracked all the composites panels that were used for cladding to a local distributor who had mixed up the ignition classes of the two different models from an American Brand. With references to the article by Loh (2017), the fire incident occurred at 30 Toh Guan Road, the cladding used for the industrial building was flammable and had failed the fire class 0 standard. After SCDF revealed the incident, neighboring industrial buildings responded by removing all cladding that failed the fire class 0 standard to prevent the reoccurrence of the misfortune incident.
SCDF has taken extra measurements in endorsing registered architects and engineers, including HDB, to ensure cladding used are of fire class 0 standard to eliminate all fire hazardous cladding. Fire class 0 materials are non-flammable or capable of fire spreading along the material’s surface when ignited. Otherwise, 2 months will be given to removing it. According to the article by Ong (2017), Singapore continues to maintain the lowest fire fatalities rate in the world through high standards for fire safety enforcement to all buildings while seeking for improvements.
High standards and enforce on cladding materials only minimizes the risk of building safety as cladding can potentially serve as a chimney which causes combustion to intensify. According to an article by Boult (2017), cladding function as a chimney for the fire to spread upwards through the spaces between the cladding and the exterior of building walls. The convection of hot air rises through the gap while fresh cold air containing oxygen enters from the bottom. Resulting in the fire to have more complete combustion which intensifies and forcing the spread of the fire in an upward direction. Despite materials used are fire class 0, their possibilities of open windows allow the fire to spread into the interior of the building burning furniture or curtains.
In conclusion, potential fire hazard of cladding cannot be eliminated but minimized to a safe level with the enforcement of external authorities such as SCDF, implementing strict fire safety standards on materials to be fire class 0. It is evident that cladding is safe as Singapore has demonstrated the world lowest fire fatality rate.
Faris, Mokhtar. (2017, June 17) Use of Cladding in Buildings Here Have Grown in Recent Times. Retrieved September 20, 2017, from http://www.todayonline.com/singapore/use-cladding-buildings-here-have-grown-recent-times-experts
L. C. J (2017, August 24) 36 buildings may have combustible cladding that doesn’t meet safety standards; police investigating. Retrieved September 27, 2017, from http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/36-buildings-may-have-combustible-cladding-that-doesn-t-meet-9153588
Jason. O. (2017, June 18). Guarding against a Grenfell-like disaster in Singapore. Retrieved September 26, 2017, from http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/guarding-against-a-grenfell-like-disaster-in-singapore-8985482
A. B. (2017, June 16) What is cladding, and why can it be a fire risk? Retrieved September 25, 2017, from http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/0/cladding-fire-risk-grenfell-tower/
Edited on 2 September 2017
Edited on 4 September 2017