Insulation makers in UK continue to face added scrutiny

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Photo by London Metropolitan Police London police have formally identified 70 victims of the Grenfell Tower fire in June.

The fire at a London high rise apartment building is continuing to impact insulation suppliers in the United Kingdom.

The Insulation Manufacturers' Association (IMA) issued a statement following a report from a national television broadcast criticizing the role industry associations play in setting construction standards, calling the 27 Nov report from Sky TV about the Grenfell Tower fire "disappointing."

The association, formerly known under the acronym BRUFMA said: "It is disappointing that recent reports in the media regarding the Grenfell tragedy have focused almost exclusively on insulation, without taking into account the full construction and fire safety of the building. IMA believes that this type of reporting is misplaced and that the public enquiry should be completed before any conclusions are made."

More than 70 people died in 14 June fire at a public housing high rise. Investigation has pointed to problems with exterior cladding and insulation using a range of materials including aluminium, polyethylene, polyisocyanurate and phenolic. In some instances, insulation and cladding that was used had not been approved for use tall buildings and in others was not installed properly.

The SKY TV report focused on the role that insulation supply companies play in setting standards in construction.

In a statement, IMA noted: "Insulation Manufacturers Association, like other trade associations, offers a voice for the industry and works with many government and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) on the improvement of building regulations and standards. This is done within the usual public channels such as attending meetings and stakeholder events organized by relevant government departments, submitting responses to consultation documents, membership of relevant standards committees and liaising with other trade associations.

"It is standard practice for the whole construction industry to have products and systems assessed and certified across a broad range of tests, including fire tests. Our industry continues to invest in testing and research with a wide range of test institutes and notified bodies, all of which charge for their services, to ensure that products meet all the relevant regulations and standards."

Following the report, the organizer of the 2017 Insulation Awards for the UK cancelled the event, which had been scheduled for 30 Nov. 

"It is with a heavy heart that I have taken the decision that the event is not commercially viable and is canceled," said Colin Heath, managing director of M4 Publishing and Events, which organized the awards.

The headline sponsor withdrew 13 Nov citing "freedom of information requests from manufacturers, conflict of interest" and the desire not to be aligned with any specific insulation maker. This news caused the event's other backers to pull out, Heath said.

Among the awards which were to be presented was one for fire performance project of the year.


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