What is ACM cladding?

2023/05/05

ACM cladding is a topic that has been widely discussed in recent years due to its association with the infamous Grenfell tower fire in London. If you’re not familiar with ACM cladding, you might be wondering exactly what it is and why it became such a big issue. In this article, we’ll be exploring everything you need to know about ACM cladding and how it’s used in buildings.


What is ACM cladding?


ACM stands for aluminum composite material. As the name suggests, it’s a type of cladding that’s made up of two layers of aluminum bonded to a core of a different material, which is usually polyethylene. The purpose of ACM cladding is primarily to improve the aesthetic appearance of a building’s exterior, as it gives a sleek, modern look.


Where is ACM cladding used?


ACM cladding can be found on a wide range of buildings, including both residential and commercial properties. It’s most commonly used on high-rise buildings, but can also be used on smaller structures. This type of cladding has been used since the 1960s, but its popularity has increased in recent years due to its visually appealing appearance.


Why is ACM cladding controversial?


The controversy surrounding ACM cladding began in 2017 when a fire broke out in London’s Grenfell Tower. The fire spread quickly, and it was later discovered that the cladding used on the building’s exterior was ACM. The material used for Grenfell’s cladding was found to be highly combustible, which allowed the fire to spread rapidly. As a result, many people lost their lives and the tragedy left the world in grief.


The Grenfell tower disaster was a tipping point for the use of ACM cladding across the world. Many countries halted the use of ACM cladding on high-rise buildings. The public’s growing concerns over the safety of ACM cladding in the years following the tragedy has prompted numerous studies and investigations into the material, which led many experts to believe that ACM cladding poses a great fire risk.


The dangers of ACM cladding


Experts have warned that ACM cladding poses a significant fire risk, primarily because the polyethylene core used in many types of ACM cladding is highly flammable. This means that in the event of a fire, the cladding can easily catch fire and spread flames quickly, creating a catastrophic situation.


What are the alternatives to ACM cladding?


Since the Grenfell Tower disaster, many building owners and architects have been looking for alternatives to ACM cladding. Fortunately, there are plenty of other options available that are both aesthetically pleasing and safe.


One popular alternative is terracotta cladding. Terracotta is a material made from clay that has been used in construction for thousands of years. It’s a versatile and robust material that can be used to create intricate designs and patterns, making it an ideal choice for modern construction.


Another alternative is using mineral wool insulation board clad externally with render systems. This alternative creates a robust and aesthetically pleasing exterior while maintaining adequate fire protection.


Conclusion


ACM cladding is a type of cladding that’s made up of two layers of aluminum bonded to a core of a different material, and it has become a controversial topic in recent years due to its association with the Grenfell tower fire in London. Though it was once a popular choice for building exteriors due to its sleek and modern look, its flammable properties pose a serious fire risk. As a result, many people in the construction industry are turning to safer and more robust alternatives that still look beautiful.

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