A Review Of Cladding Fires

Tuesday, 13 April 2021
10:00 am (UK time)
    • Professor JF Lygate, Principal Investigator, IFIC Forensics
    • Deon Webber, Specialist Fire Investigator, Greater Manchester Fire Service
    • Chris Bateman, IFIC Forensics

The issue of domestic fires featuring combustible cladding was highlighted in 2017 by the devastating fire at Grenfell Tower. The history of this type of fire however goes back much further than June 2017 and is far more widespread than the United Kingdom.

Our presentation hopes to explain the use of the various types of combustible cladding, show just how widespread the problem is using historic case studies from all over the world and how this affecting the housing and insurance markets

At the end of the session, the delegate will:

• Have an appreciation of the term ‘façade fire’
• Understand how lessons have been learned from the marine industry
• Realise the reasons why we clad buildings and what types of materials are commonly used
• Appreciate how long the problem has been recognised and the geographical spread of the issue
• Through visual case studies, understand the magnitude of some of these fires
• Have a knowledge of the materials used for internal cores and their implications
• Understand the implications of building regulations and fire tests of materials
• See how regulation and testing has not kept up with new materials
• Appreciate the impact this problem is having for home sellers and lenders
• Understand the role that fire engineers can play
• See the possible effects on insurers
• Have an understanding of the latest developments in the Grenfell inquiry

Speaker bios

Deon Webber: https://www.ific.co.uk/expert/deon-webber/

Deon has served over 35 years in the UK Fire Service with the Greater Manchester Fire Service, with the last 12 years as a specialist fire investigator. Through his career Deon has reported on the cause of hundreds of fires since 1980, in his role as an operational fire officer and has investigated and reported on over 300 fires as a specialist fire investigation officer, presenting evidence in the criminal and Coroners courts.
Over a career spanning five decades Deon has studied, constantly learning all the technical and managerial skills required for his job. Deon is a member of the Institution of Fire Engineers and member of the International Association of Fire Investigators for who he is the North West regional representative. Deon is dedicated to investing in the next generation of forensic investigators and has designed and delivered fire investigation training programmes for the Fire Service, Police and Forensic Students, whilst using his experience as a trainer to help develop IFIC Forensics’ personnel in their various roles.

Professor James F Lygate (Jim): https://www.ific.co.uk/expert/prof-james-lygate/

Jim’s extensive 30 year career has led to his position as the Principal Investigator at IFIC Forensics. After obtaining his BSc in Surveying, Jim studied Fire Engineering at the University of Edinburgh where he gained his MSc winning the Graviner Sword as top student.
As a Chartered Surveyor, his work has included project management and his consultancy work has involved him in a breadth of fire problems in the construction and other industries. These have included: Smoke Control in Airport Terminals, Fire Testing of Materials, Design of Fire Protection and Detection Systems, Escape Route Design and Fire Hazard Analysis.
Jim has conducted numerous investigations of fires on land and on ships and is particularly interested in arson and fires in engine compartments. His experience includes industrial, commercial and residential fires and explosions, electrical causes of fire, fires in vehicles. Jim is renowned in the industry for his expertise pertaining to ship fires and explosions.
An experienced author of reports for Insurers, Solicitors and Attorneys, Dr Lygate's expert reports have been submitted to courts in the United States of America and the United Kingdom where he has given expert evidence in court on numerous occasions on behalf of clients and the Crown. Jim is also the author of numerous professional publications.

Chris Bateman

Chris joined IFIC Forensics in November 2020 on a part time basis while completing his PhD. Having graduated with an MEng in structural engineering with architecture from the University of Edinburgh, he has an in-depth understanding of structural mechanics, architectural design principles, and the interaction of fire with the built environment. During his masters year, in which he published his thesis on cross laminated timber compartment fires, he developed a passion for fire engineering and established a sound understanding of fire and combustion dynamics and structural design for fire.

After completing his integrated masters, shortly after the tragic Grenfell Tower disaster, he began a PhD into cladding fires at the University of Edinburgh. His research is predominantly lab based, focussing on the relationships between certain design decisions – both material selection and geometric – and their consequences for fire. Through his research he has critically explored the current guidance, test procedures, and is working towards a more fundamental, science-based approach to cladding design.

During his studies, he spent time providing architectural services over a series of summer internships. Through this experience he developed practical experience in design and surveying, as well as a strong fundamental knowledge of the Scottish Technical Handbook regulations. In his short time with IFIC, he has been involved with a range of cladding projects across the UK which have allowed him to apply his insight in the context of AD B also.

Webinar details to follow.

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