Statement on cladding used at Rhyl High School

Denbighshire County Council and Rhyl High School have issued a message of reassurance to parents and pupils, as well as the wider community about the cladding used as part of the high school’s new building.

The Council’s Property team has been dealing with a significant number of enquiries regarding residential and corporate buildings in the wake of the Grenfell Tower tragedy in London and it has taken some time to confirm the exact specification of materials from external design teams on certain projects.

Following consultation with the development team, Denbighshire County Council can confirm that the external cladding sheet used is manufactured by the same company as that which provided the cladding for Grenfell Tower.

However, as a result of new information emerging regarding the fact that the cladding comes from the same manufacturer, it has been decided to close the school on Thursday and Friday whilst a full risk assessment and review of the safety management is carried out as a precautionary measure. There is nothing to suggest an increase in risk of fire at the school.

The Council believes that the fire safety measures and extensive checks carried out as part of the new building works at Rhyl High School were sound.

The Council would also like to point out to the community that the use of cladding at Rhyl High School differs vastly from the cladding used in Grenfell and any other tower blocks, most significantly:

  • Rhyl High School is not high rise or residential;
  • Occupation levels are much lower;
  • Firebreaks have been installed vertically and horizontally;
  • A full coverage fire alarm and sprinkler systems is installed;
  • The building is compartmentalised;
  • The building is competently managed during occupation;
  • There is a ½ hr fire rated internal plasterboard layer to the cladding system;
  • The design was approved by a Fire Engineer.

The Council is confident that any aluminium cladding panels used on Denbighshire County Council buildings represents a minor risk.

However, in recognition of the doubt currently being cast on these products, the Council will review the Fire Risk Assessments in place, where these products have been used, with particular emphasis on fire escape and emergency arrangements. 

This is a measure that the Council hopes will provide added assurance to reassure building users. Should any recommendations arising from the on-going public enquiry and investigations have an impact on any Council buildings then the Council will take appropriate action.

The Council and the school will provide an update on the position when it becomes available.

Posted on Wednesday 5th July 2017