ACM cladding checks

If you’re a private landlord concerned about aluminium composite material (ACM) cladding on a block of flats you own, you can get a free safety check. Cladding tests are available for residential buildings that are 18 metres high or taller than six storeys.

Aluminium composite material

Aluminium composite material (ACM) is a flat panel made from two thin aluminium sheets bonded to a non-aluminium core, between three and seven mm thick.

The panels have a painted or metallic finish, for example a copper or zinc effect. ACM cladding is used as panels on the outside of buildings, including residential towers. 

ACM cladding

ACM cladding is not dangerous but it's important to use the right type.

Identifying ACM cladding

To tell the difference between ACM and a solid aluminium sheet, you need to look at a cut edge where the lamination is visible. If there isn’t a cut edge, you’ll need to cut a hole in a panel.

When testing is necessary

If a building has a floor over 18 metres above ground level and has ACM panels, the owner must make sure the panels meet building regulations guidance.

The owner needs a safety check to confirm the core material in the cladding is a material of limited combustibility (this includes materials of Class A2-s3, d2 or better to meet BS EN 13501-1).

Getting a free safety check on cladding

If you’re responsible for private housing in a tower block with ACM cladding, you can send samples for a safety check.

A landlord, managing agent or owner can take and send sample ACM cladding for testing. If there are several owners or people responsible for the same building, one set of samples is accepted for testing.

It is free to test the sample cladding. The owner would be responsible for any remedial action or safety improvements to the building. 

Where to sample cladding on a high rise building

When you or a surveyor is certain the cladding is made from ACM, you need to take two different samples from the same building. It is important to use sample cladding above and below 18 metres from the ground. 

Take photographs to help you identify the cladding samples. Where you remove a sample, you need to close the hole using a non-combustible sheet such as steel fixed with self-tapping screws or rivets.

Protocol for sampling of aluminium composite material cladding

At two different locations in a residential building:

  • cut two samples about 250x250mm
  • on each sample use indelible ink to write the building name, number, postcode, a unique identifier and a direct dial telephone or mobile number
  • complete the data return form and give as much information as possible about the building
  • put one sample from each location and the data return form in a padded envelope and write “Urgent – cladding test samples” in capital letters on the envelope

Download a data return form to send with your samples of ACM cladding.

Send the test samples by recorded delivery or courier to: 
Buildings Research Establishment (BRE)
Bucknalls Lane
Garston
Watford
Herts
WD25 9XX 

Keep the second sample from each location for your own records or for testing if the first sample is lost or misplaced.

More information about safety checks on ACM cladding

If you want more information about ACM testing, contact:

More useful links

 

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