House on Fire

The cause of horrible fire that happened in the famous 24-storey Grenfell Tower  of  London, June 14, 2017 is still not identified and under intenssive investigation, but paced on how the fire escalated has been credited to a newly installed exterior cladding.


There are many developers which utilized cladding, which refers to that additional layer made out from plastic panels or an aluminum. The role of this is to protect the exterior façade of a building. Recently this is the source of argument, after the Grenfell Tower of London tragedy. It was discovered that the incident was due to ventilation gaps between the walls of the building and cladding which triggered the fire to spread in just a matter of seconds, specifically at 24-storey of the Grenfell Tower, London.

Michael Budig, the assistant professor and consultant in Architecture and Sustainable Design at the Singapore University of Technology and Design shared, “The air in the ventilation gap behind the faced panels becomes heated by the fire and starts rising very quickly.”

This resulted in higher upward wind pace, as fresh air penetrates in every gap underneath the façade, thus supplied the fire with increasing oxygen.

But incongruous with the London incident, where the opening between the building walls and cladding are infused with thermal insulation element to aid in ventilation but the method of cladding in Singapore dissimilar.

Budig emphasizes that cladding in Singapore is more permeable, having less insulation material is a factor that increases fire threat establishments in Singapore must comply with the policy of ‘0’ standard.

The so called “The class 0 “ standard refers to a unit of measurements in industrial system involving the spread of flame, mark with a number ‘0’ specifying that the material when ignited, the flame will not escalate in the surface area. The materials are expected to follow with the certification of local products which calls for periodic trial to assure its integrity and conformity as documented in the Fire Code.