Storm & Fire Damage

Storm & Fire Damage2021-02-12T19:02:11+00:00

External Wall Insulation (EWI) Cladding: Storm Damage, Fire Damage and Defects Investigations.

When considering installing external wall insulation (EWI) for re-modelling and thermal upgrading of an existing building, or as replacement for defective, storm or fire damaged cladding, it is of the utmost importance to ensure at the outset that appropriate structural surveys are conducted of each individual property.

External Wall Insulation Fire Damage

Fig 1. EWI Cladding – Fire Damage to 5-Storey Flats

Fig 2. EWI Cladding – Fire Damage to 3-Storey Flats

Prior to installing any external wall insulation cladding, a detailed structural survey will be required to be provided by the external wall insulation system designer or specifier for each individual property to confirm not only the condition and suitability of the overall structure and each elevation of the structure, but also to confirm its ability to support the additional load and all imposed loads including the additional load of the EWI system and, in particular, in the case of cavity walls, metal frame-work, etc., to also confirm the structural adequacy of the outer leaf tied back to the inner leaf/structure to support the additional loads. The structural survey should be carried out by a fully qualified Chartered Structural Engineer member of IStructE who should be experienced in all aspects of the design and application of the proposed external wall insulation EWI system.

External Wall Insulation Storm Damage

Fig 1. EWI Render Detachment

Fig 2. EWI Render Detachment

The structural survey is of critical important in relation to all high-rise buildings and, in particular, to those in inner city and coastal (subject to salt corrosion) locations, for homes subject to high winds or severe or very severe wind driven rain exposure conditions which pose a significant risk to the lives and safety of the occupants and general public should the external wall insulation cladding and/or the outer leaf of the building become detached and collapse from the façade of the building.

The initial structural survey of the building may also prove vital in any storm, fire or defects investigation.

When carrying out periodic maintenance checks on the condition of the cladding it is important to check for signs of ingress of rain water into the external wall insulation (EWI) which will considerably increase the applied load required to be supported by the external wall insulation fixing system.

I-CAN insulation consultancy staff for over three decades have been at the forefront of research of fail-safe fixing systems to reduce the risk of detachment of retrofit solid external wall insulation (EWI) render cladding finishes in high wind speeds falling from multi-storey tower blocks putting at risk the lives and well-being of occupants and members of the public.

Variations in the design of the fixing system can adversely affect performance of the external wall insulation (EWI) system to resist wind loads, especially in tall buildings.

Building owners and, in particular, owners of high-rise multi-storey tower blocks, should periodically check the condition of all external wall insulation EWI systems including those with render and brick slip masonry finishes as part of their regular maintenance and management plan and in relation to structural matters should seek expert advice from a suitably qualified Chartered Structural Engineer. In relation to external wall insulation EWI systems with render and brick slip masonry finishes it may also be necessary to seek advice from a suitably qualified Chartered Building Engineer experienced in the design, installation and long-term performance of these systems in use.

If you require assistance in carrying out inspections of existing external wall insulation systems on multi-storey buildings please click here  to contact us.