Over the past 20 years, the use of Aluminum Composite Panels (ACP) for external cladding, insulation, and signage on commercial and high rise buildings has become common place. These panels are lightweight, easy to install and provide an attractive metallic building finish. The panels typically range from 4 to 6 mm in thickness, made up of two outer aluminum skins, separated by an inner insulating core. Unfortunately a common core material used in these panels is highly combustible polyethylene plastic.
There have been a number of recent fires in high rise buildings, for example in the United Arab Emirates and also in Indonesia, in which polyethylene cored aluminum composite panels have been implicated as a major contributing factor. In recent fires in the United Arab Emirates and other countries, listed below, there has been serious and dramatic vertical fire spread, leading to extensive damage to the buildings.
- Grenfell Tower, London, England 14 June 2017
- Neo SOHO Apartment, Jakarta, Indonesia 9 November 2016
- The Address Tower, UAE 31 December 2015
- Margo City Mall, Depok, Indonesia 22 March 2015
- Lacrosse Docklands, Melbourne, Australia 2014
- Al Hafeet Tower, UAE 2 April 2013
- Tamweel Tower, UAE November 2012
- Al Tayer Tower, UAE April 20128
- Mermoz Tower, Roubaix, France 2012
- Al Baker Tower, 4 January 2012
- Dynasty Wanxin Hotel, Shanghai, China 2011
- Al Aneeqa Tower, UAE November 2011
- Wooshin Golden Suites, Busan, South Korea 2010
Learning from exterior walls fire:
- Although exterior wall fires are low frequency events, the resulting consequences in terms of extent of fire spread and property loss can be potentially very high.
- A large number of occupants are usually displaced for significant periods after the fire incidents.
- Internal fires which spread to the exterior wall are the most common fire start scenario for the incidents reviewed.
- Falling burning debris can be a significant hazard relating to these fires and causes downward fire spread.
Combustible exterior wall systems may present an increased fire hazard during installation and construction
There are alternatives for fire rated aluminum composite panels. These usually use a mineral filler to ensure the core is non-combustible. These panels, reportedly more expensive and typically meet the requirements of Euroclass Class A2 (noncombustible).
Strict regulations regarding the use of ACP are in place in other countries like USA, UK and lately UAE
Anticipation during design stage:
Consider to replace the ACP which uses combustible core material with non-combustible core material.
Fire prevention for installed ACP:
•Identify the penetrations on outer walls.
•Close the penetrations with fire stopping material
•Inspect the electrical installation which may be located behind the ACP.
•Relocate the fire source away from ACP installation
•Avoid hot work activity within 11 m from ACP
•Upgrade the existing emergency procedure to face the ACP fire.
Make sure that all fire protection systems work all the time.
Full scale test is used to determine the combustiblity of ACP. Following the recognized test standards.
•ANSI FM 4880
•SP FIRE 105
For any further information please contact:
PT Zurich Insurance Indonesia
Mayapada Tower II, 5th Floor
Jl. Jend. Sudirman Kav. 27
Jakarta 12920, Indonesia
+62 21 2500 501
1. “Grenfell Tower inferno a 'disaster waiting to happen' as concerns are raised for safety of other buildings.” The telegraph. 14 June 2017. Web accessed 24 May 2018. https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/06/14/grenfell-tower-inferno-disaster-waiting-happen-concerns-raised/
2. “Neo Soho in West Jakarta on Fire.” The Jakarta Post. 9-Nov-2016. Web accessed. 25 May 2018. http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2016/11/09/neo- soho-in-west-jakarta-on-fire.html
3. “Massive fire at Dubai skyscraper interrupts New Year's Eve fireworks.” The Guardian. 31-Dec-2015. Web accessed 24 May 2018. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/dec/31/dubai-skyscraper-fire-ablaze-new-years- eve-fireworks
4. “Margo City To Reopen Tuesday After Sunday Fire.” Tempo.co. 23-Mar-2015. Web accessed. 25 May 2018. https://metro.tempo.co/read/652150/margo-city- to-reopen-tuesday-after-sunday-fire
5. “Lacrosse Docklands.” Institution of Fire Engineers. 25-Nov-2014. Web accessed 24 May 2018. https://www.ife.org.uk/Incidents-of-Interest-1/2014-lacrosse- docklands/37169
6. Kakande, Yasin. "Dozens of Families Flee as Sharjah Fire Guts 20-storey Tower." The National. 22 Apr. 2013. Web accessed. 04-Sep-2013. http://www.thenational.ae/news/uae-news/dozens-of-families-flee-as-sharjah- fire-guts-20-storey-tower
7. Kannan, Preeti. "Dubai's Tamweel Tower Fire Compensation Falls Short of Victims' Costs." The National. 22 Apr. 2013. Web accessed. 04-Sep-2013. http://www.thenational.ae/news/uae-news/dubais-tamweel-tower- fire-compensation-falls-short-of-victims-costs
8. Abdullah, Afkar. "Cigarette Butt Caused Blaze at Al Tayer Tower." Khaleej Times. 6 June 2012. Web accessed. 04-Sep-2013. http://www.khaleejtimes.com/kt-article-display-1.asp? xfile=data/nationgeneral/2012/june/nationgeneral_june49.xml§ion=nationgeneral
9. White, Nathan et.al. “Fire Hazards of Exterior Wall Assemblies Containing Combustible Components.” NFPA. 2015. Web accessed. 24 May 2018. https://www.nfpa.org/-/media/Files/News-and- Research/Resources/Research-Foundation/Current-projects/PIRG-projects/FacadeSeminar2015.ashx? la=en&hash=1A9A50F3289AB9E55D42C1151BF672CF515047BC
10. "Sharjah Al Baker Tower Fire Caused by Cigarette." Construction Week Online Middle East. 26 May 2012. Web accessed. 04-Sep-2013. http://www.constructionweekonline.com/article-16634-sharjah-al-baker-tower- fire-caused-by-cigarette/
11. “Fireworks Blaze Destroys 5-Star Hotel In China.” 3-Feb-2011. Web accessed. 24 May 2018. http://www.nbcnews.com/id/41402478/ns/world_news- asia_pacific/t/fireworks-blaze-destroys--star-hotel- china/#.WwaKSe6FPIU
12. "Fire Blazes Sharjah High-rise Tower." 8-Nov-2011. Web accessed. 04-Sep-2013. http://www.khaleejtimes.com/DisplayArticle11.asp?xfile=data/theuae/2011/November/theuae_November206.xml
13. Bae Ji-sook. “Fire Guts High-rise Building In Busan.” The Korea Times. 1 October 2010. Web accessed. 24 May 2018. http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/nation/2010/10/113_73830.html
The information contained in this document has been compiled and obtained from sources believed to be reliable and credible but no representation or warranty, express or implied, is made by PT Zurich Insurance Indonesia (“Zurich”) as to their accuracy or completeness. Some of the information contained herein may be apply at a particular time. Thus, you should find information on the most recent referenced material.
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