Move to replace exterior cladding panels comes as scrutiny grows over tower facade standards
Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB) has said that the recently installed exterior cladding panels on its new headquarters have been replaced, as scrutiny over the suitability of tower facades grows around the world, following the Grenfell Tower fire disaster in London.
Currently under construction on Abu Dhabi’s Airport Road, the tower is expected to be complete by early 2018, the bank said in a report by Arab News. The move to strip the cladding off the ongoing project comes as companies and building owners have begun assessing the materials being used on the outside of their buildings, the report added.
ADIB said that the contractors for the project had begun stripping the exterior wall panels of the new building long before the Grenfell Tower blaze last month.
“As part of the process of finalising the building, (the) new cladding is being mounted that meets the highest local and international standards and requirements,” stated Sagheer Mufti, chief operations officer at ADIB.
The report said that thousands of building owners across the UAE are conducting tests on their facades following a spate of high-profile fires involving buildings covered with aluminium composite panels which are sometimes filled with highly flammable plastic material.
The Grenfell Tower blaze, which has claimed at least 80 lives, has drawn attention to fire safety standards around the globe.
Writing in an exclusive article for Big Project ME, which will be published in August 2017, Craig Ross, partner and head of project and building consultancy at Cavendish Maxwell, said that cladding has been identified as the main contributor to recent fires.
“The detailing behind the cladding such as fixings and voids can also be a major contributor to the speed at which fire spreads in addition to the combustibility of the panels themselves.
“If the voids are not broken up with cavity barriers then extreme heat can quickly spread upwards through convection in the ‘chimney effect’, spreading the fire upwards far faster than if the voids were separated with fire rated material at specified intervals,” he said.
The new building will house ADIB’s flagship retail branch, its digital studio and training facilities, and will also serve as the bank’s head office.