Use of flammable aluminium composite facade panels has been cited as the reason for the fires in buildings. -Photo used for illustrative purposes.
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Due to the growing safety concerns regarding fire incidents, especially building facade blazes across the country, aluminium cladding and supplies company Alubond USA has launched its highest grade of A2 fire resistant aluminum composite panels. The move is in line with the new code of practice being drafted by the UAE Civil Defence.
Experts have pointed to the continued use of flammable aluminum composite facade panels as the reason for the fires spreading rapidly across the buildings. When it comes to exterior cladding, aluminum composite wall systems is an inevitable fixture and a symbol of the bustling landscape of the UAE. Aluminum composite panels consist of two aluminum skin coils sandwiching a central core of mineral elements.
It is highly essential to ensure that the entire fire wall systems are tested, in addition to installing fire rated panels. Alubond USA is the first aluminum composite panel in the UAE market, to have tested successfully for the complete aluminum composite wall systems, according to the American test standards for NFPA285, recognised by the UAE civil defence.
Citing recent research, Shaji Ul Mulk, chairman of Alubond USA, noted the primary reasons for the spread of fires in building across the UAE. The foam backer rods, he explained, are the first to ignite, followed by the polyethylene sealant and bitumen paint. The cavity caused due to sealed facades and the lack of cavity barriers creates a tunneling effect, which causes the fire to spread.
Shaji Ul Mulk warned that there are over 1,000 buildings in the UAE alone with 100 per cent low-density polythene (LDPE) core aluminium composite panels cladded sealed silicon systems that are at risk of spreading fire. Speaking on the solution for the future, he revealed that there had been huge technical advancements with the advent of mineral core panels.
For existing buildings that are at risk of spreading fires, Ul Mulk proposed a solution where the bitumen paint from the surface of the building would be scraped off and recoated with a water-based coating; cavity barriers should be erected every three floors; LDPE core cladding be removed; and silicon-free panels installed.