Local News & Archive — July 5, 2017 at 4:12 pm — Updated: July 5, 2017 at 4:30 pm

Rhyl High School closed over cladding alert


Rhyl High School

Rhyl High School is to close for two days after it emerged cladding used to build its new £25 million home was made by the same firm which provided cladding for the Grenfell Tower.

An investigation by Denbighshire County Council has found the external cladding sheet was provided by US firm Arconic, which has since stopped sales of Reynobond PE panels. The council said there was nothing to suggest any increase in the risk of a fire at the school.

In a letter to parents, headteacher Claire Armitstead said the school would be closed on Thursday and Friday while a full assessment takes place.

But Mrs Armitstead added the product used differed vastly from that used for Grenfell, where at least 80 people died in a major fire last month.

The letter, issued on Wednesday afternoon, stated that Rhyl High School was:

  • Not high rise or residential
  • Occupation levels were much lower
  • Firebreaks were installed horizontally and vertically
  • There are full coverage fire alarms and sprinkler systems
  • The building is compartmentalised and completely managed when occupied
  • There is a half-hour fire rated internal plasterboard layer to the cladding system
  • The design was approved by a fire engineer

The new school building was opened in spring last year and was shortlisted for this year’s Wales Architecture Awards. Mrs Armitstead added that she was not ”willing to risk our children’s safety” and an update on the situation was expected by Friday afternoon.

A spokesperson for Denbighshire Council said its property team had been dealing with a significant number of inquiries about residential and corporate buildings following the Grenfell disaster. The decision to close the school was taken as a precautionary measure but it was confident that the school was ”sound” after extensive checks on the new building were carried out.

In a statement, they added: ”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.”



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