Composite Panels

    Composite PanelsComposite or sandwich panels are often used in industrial units and are found through out the UK.  So what is the big deal?  Composite panels have been known to be a contributory factor in many fires, especially in food factory factory fires.  As a result many insurers face re-insurance problems which in many cases means property can be almost uninsurable.

So what exactly is a composite panel?

A composite panel is usually (but not solely) found on the outside of a building in the form of a metal cladding.  The problem is the infill or sandwich filling in the cladding.  A panel consists of two skins of metal with a bonded insulation core and has been used for over 20 years.  They are found on the walls and the roof of many properties.  This is often not easy to gain access to and even win you can look at the filling, will you be able to identify it? Over the past few years the filling in the panels has risen to a high standard and no longer causes a problem however the earlier panels can be filled with expanded polystyrene (EPS) which is highly combustible.  Failure to recognise and declare the panels can lead to a claim being declared void by insurers. There is a serious lack of understanding of composite panels in the insurance market.

Common types of panels found:

– Expanded polystyrene (EPS) – Highly combustible – Fire retardant EPS – Highly combustible – Polyurethane (PUR) – Combustible – Polyisocyanurate (PIR) – (standard) – Combustible – Polyisocyanurate (PIR) – (approved to UK fire test standards) – will withstand fire for longer, ultimately combustible – Modified phenolic – Combustible but with good degree of fire resistance – Glass fibre – In the UK it is regarded as non-combustible – Mineral wool -Regarded as non combustible Polyurethane is the most popular core filling however polystyrene is the probably considered the most combustible. Not all buildings that have composite panels are considered bad risks.  In the UK the Loss Prevention Certification Board (LPCB) carry out tests on panels and some are granted an approval status which helps underwriters understand the risk they are presented with. One manufacturer which has a good reputation is Kingspan.  Their current range meets the requirements of insurers and has a high fire rating.

To discuss composite panels or if you have any queries or require a quote contact us on 01707 883377 or email us on or visit our property owners page here


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