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Fire safety focus “must go further than cladding” asserts Wrexham Mineral Cables

16 March 2021

WREXHAM MINERAL Cables, the UK manufacturer of fire-resistant mineral insulated cables, has called for all identified fire safety hazards to be put under the spotlight. If this doesn’t happen, warns the business’ commercial manager Steve Williams, more lives could be put at risk.

Last month, the Government set out its five-point plan to address unsafe cladding issues including an additional £3.5 billion in funding for the removal and replacement of cladding on buildings over 18 metres in height. As reported by Fire Safety Matters, this move was welcomed by the Association for Specialist Fire Protection (ASFP). However, the ASFP also stated that the organisation doesn’t believe the plan covers all identified defects.

Wrexham Mineral Cables is adding weight to the ASFP’s argument. The company believes it’s the identified issues – such as the installation of inferior fire-resistant cables – which need to be put under the spotlight and addressed in order to make tall buildings safe.

For many years, Wrexham Mineral Cables has been calling for more stringent testing standards as the company believes too many cables installed in buildings across the country are classified as being fire resistant and yet are not fit for purpose in real-life fire scenarios.

Steve Williams commented: “While we welcome calls to look at all identified fire safety hazards, we believe the call for change needs to go much further. Sadly, there are simply too many cables classed as being fire resistant, but that would not be adequate in the event of a fire as the tests that have been conducted don’t represent real-world conditions. All over the UK, this situation is putting lives at risk.”

Higher classification needed

Williams continued: “We strongly believe there should be a higher classification of cables introduced to identify those which can survive, rather than simply resist fire. There should be no compromise.”

Further, Williams observed: “As an industry, we can no longer aim for minimum compliance to ‘get the job done’. While legislation such as the Building Safety Bill will make everybody in the supply chain more accountable throughout the various stages of a building’s existence, we can only truly make buildings safe by identifying all possible hazards and ensuring that the testing procedures to which construction products are subjected are relevant and the results can be relied upon.”

Wrexham Mineral Cables contributed to the call for evidence issued in relation to the Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety led by Dame Judith Hackitt. The company has also lobbied the Government for its support in calling for more stringent product testing.