Dublin’s Terminal 2 cladding ‘safe’ after review

The State-owned Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) has said the prestigious Terminal 2 built less than seven years ago is safe, following a review of the aluminium cladding and polyethylene composite tiles on the building’s exterior.

The authority said “as a courtesy” the Dublin Fire Brigade was made aware recently of the existence of the aluminium rain screen panels as part of the terminal’s cladding.

The Irish Examiner had asked questions of the DAA in recent weeks about the type and the materials used in the core of the cladding at Terminal 2.

Use of aluminium-and-polyethylene panels has come under intense international scrutiny since London’s Grenfell high-rise residential tower was engulfed in flames with the loss of at least 80 lives last month.

Terminal 2, which has won a building design award, handles millions of passengers and houses retail and food businesses. With a floor space of 75,000sq m, it is one of the largest buildings used by the public in Ireland, north or south, using composite cladding systems on a widespread scale.

The news of the completion of the review could spur owners of commercial buildings to review the components of their cladding systems.

A DAA spokesman said: “In light of the Grenfell fire we have reviewed the cladding system on Terminal 2 and confirmed that it more than exceeds the relevant fire regulations and building regulations. Terminal 2’s cladding is not comparable with the cladding system at Grenfell,” he said.

He said the overall system uses non-combustible mineral wool insulation, and the exterior rain-screen panel “exceeds the relevant fire safety and building regulations”.

“Terminal 2 is one of the best fire-engineered buildings in the State, with safety features that include sprinkler systems, comprehensive fire detection and alarm systems, automatic smoke extraction systems and the airport’s on-site fire service,” the DAA spokesman said.

Part of the cladding used on Terminal 2 was provided by Alucobond. On its website, Alucobond made by 3A Composites said its cladding was not the cladding used on the Grenfell Tower.

It said the market still has a place for Alucobond with a polyethylene core on low-rise buildings and low-risk structures.

Reuters reported last week that Arconic will stop sales of some of its plastic -filled aluminium cladding panels for use in high-rise buildings after the fire at the Grenfell Tower which used those Arconic panels.

A spokesman for the Housing, Planning and Local Government Department said a preliminary survey of the use of cladding products on residential buildings over 18m had been extended to the rest of the State for all types of buildings over 18m. The results will be known on July 19.

The British government said yesterday 181 high-rise buildings have failed safety tests carried out in the UK after the Grenfell fire.

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