UK fire testing regime is “not fit for purpose”, say insurers.

The Association of British Insurers says its recent investigation has revealed that the current approach to testing cladding for fire resistance is inadequate.

And it has welcomed a new partnership between testing company UL and the Fire Protection Association as an opportunity to establish a new “line of defence” to keep people safe.

ABI Director of Policy James Dalton called the current cladding testing system “seriously lacking”. He said: “This testing regime is not fit for purpose, so we welcome this partnership to improve fire safety testing and certification.

“We need multiple lines of defence to ensure the safety of all buildings in the future, not just high-rise blocks.”

The new alliance between fire testing organisation UL and the FPA will open more testing facilities, as UL says that currently, the only UK-based facilities capable of testing facades for fire resistance are booked up for at least the next six months, driving many building product manufacturers to seek testing and accreditation outside of the UK.

Products will be able to be tested and certified by the alliance in their own facility. UL will also now be able to offer building envelope inspection services and forensic services for building owners concerned about cladding, insulation and other materials.

Chris Hasbrook, Vice-President and General Manager of UL’s Building and Life Safety Technologies Division, said: “We will ensure we play our part in rebuilding public confidence in a robust, reliable and real-life testing regime.”