External Wall Insulation (EWI) Cladding Collapse

External Wall Insulation (EWI) Cladding Collapse2021-12-06T15:22:58+00:00

External wall insulation (EWI) cladding systems have been used extensively over the past circa 40 years in the United Kingdom to improve the thermal performance and appearance of residential dwellings. In general, they have been successfully installed on domestic two-storey dwellings and on low, medium and high-rise multi-storey housing blocks and complete external wall insulation cladding system collapse is not a common occurrence.

However, unfortunately, such failures do occur from time to time due to potential inadequacies of the structural design of the external wall insulation systems.

Residents of a nineteen-storey tower block had a lucky escape with their lives when heavy panels of external wall insulation cladding with cement render approximately 8mm in thickness came crashing to the ground and highlighted the serious risk to life and injury to not only building occupants but also to pedestrians and the general public from potential collapse of external wall insulation systems from tall buildings.

Fig1. External Wall Insulation (EWI)Cladding Collapse

An external wall insulation panel, circa 2.5m high x 3.5m wide, weighing approximately 85kgs (circa 13.5 stones), fell from the 11th floor onto grassland near the main access route into the building and could have resulted in fatalities or serious injuries to the residents or pedestrians had they been in the vicinity at the time of the collapse.

Other panels were observed to be at risk of becoming detached from the 12th, 13th and 14th floors and I-CAN staff were urgently contacted to cordon off the area and make safe the access to the building, organise spotlights to light up the tower block to enable working at height to carry out emergency work throughout the night, and to temporarily secure the remaining panels to reduce the risk of further external wall insulation panels becoming detached.

Fig2. External Wall Insulation (EWI)Cladding Collapse

Having temporarily secured the external wall insulation panels I-CAN staff further assisted the council to carry out a thorough investigation to determine the cause of the external wall insulation cladding collapse and to determine the extent of the remaining panels at risk and consequent remedial works.

I-CAN (Insulation Consultancy and Analysis) staff has been involved in investigating high profile external wall insulation failures for over 30 years including complete EWI system detachment from high rise multi-storey tower blocks.

If you require assistance in carrying out investigations of existing external wall insulation systems failures please click here to contact us.