January 2005. Location: Thurrock, Essex

Building description

The building was one of a pair of logistic warehouses with a separation distance of 8.7 m. These were conventional steel frame buildings clad with PIR cored insulated panels approved by LPCB to LPS1181 Part 1Grade EXT-B on the walls and a built-up metal clad roof system with glass fibre insulation.

Fire

The devastating fire in one of the pair was sufficiently intense to result in collapse and the building was completely burnt out.The fire Consultant’s assessment report stated that the insulated panels did not contribute to the spread of fire and the cores only burnt when exposed to direct intense flame attack.

In the second building the LPCB approved panels which were only 8.7 metres from the burnt out unit, played a significant role in preventing fire spread to an adjacent building. The severe heat and flames generated by the burning building were so intense that the paint coating on the PIR cored insulated panels on part of the next-door building was burnt off but the PIR core did not ignite and no flames or smoke entered the adjoining building.

Comments

Inspite of the intense heat sufficient to collapse the building there was no evidence to suggest that the panels contributed to the spread of the fire within the building. Neither is there any evidence that the fire spread through the cores of the panels.