The HPL data collection aimed to collect data across care homes, colleges of further education and universities, high-rise domestic buildings, hotels, independent schools, local authority schools, health buildings and prison service buildings. The different sectors include residential and non-residential buildings.
High pressure laminate (HPL) panels are a form of cladding panel typically manufactured by layering sheets of wood or paper fibre with a resin and bonding them under heat and pressure. The fire performance of HPL varies, depending on the composition and the use of fire retardants. HPL is not considered to present the same fire risk as Aluminium Composite Material (ACM) panels with an unmodified polyethylene (PE) core i.e. the type of panel used on Grenfell Tower.
The data collection exercise used a spreadsheet to capture a range of information on the relevant buildings and the HPL cladding. A total of 393 buildings that had external HPL cladding installed were identified across the eight building sectors. A complete set of data returns was made by five of the sectors. The independent schools and hotel sectors were nearly 90% complete and the care home sector was 54% complete. The extent of use of HPL cladding across the eight sectors, varies from 1% to 12%, however the number of buildings in each sectors varied substantially. The distribution of the buildings that have external HPL cladding installed across the eight building sectors is concentrated in ten local authorities, accounting for 78% of the buildings. The majority of HPL used across the sectors was towards the safer end of fire performance when assessed against either the older British Standard tests or current European Standards tests.