Industry news

Grenfell Tower style safety worries continue to emerge

firefighters involved in tackling the fire, but disquieting news continued to emerge about safety failings potentially affecting millions of residents. Concerns about the quality of fire doors used


across the housing sector grew when it was revealed that doors manufactured by five different companies had failed tests. The fire doors have been withdrawn from sale and one of the leading manufacturers contacted over 100 organisations advising them that the doors had not received third-party accreditation An advice note sent out by the Ministry of

Housing, Communities and Local Government on behalf of its expert advisory panel on fire safety, said flat entrance front doors should be replaced if landlords or building owners “suspect they do not meet the fire or smoke resistance performance in the building regulations guidance”. Meanwhile, guidance about what materials can

be used to clad tower blocks is still unclear. Some of the products that are still on sale includes insulation products of limited combustibility that were used at Grenfell Tower. The Government has committed £400m to fund

the removal of cladding in the social housing sector, but the work is progressing very slowly and Ministers are not putting any money into the removal of the material from private blocks. No

ver the Summer months the Grenfell Tower public inquiry took a break after hearing harrowing evidence from

commitment has been made to help leaseholders with bills to remove dangerous cladding, although Ministers continue to say they will “not rule anything out”.

CLADDING REMOVAL According to the latest Building Safety Programme data release issued by MHCLG, the remediation of buildings with ACM cladding (removal and replacement) has struggled to move forward at any great pace despite the understandable concerns of residents. There are still an estimated 466 buildings that fail to meet current building regulations guidance. Of the 159 social housing buildings that failed

large-scale system tests, removal work has started on 121 of them with work completed on 14 tower blocks. These have received sign-off from building control where necessary. In the private sector it is believed there are 293

residential buildings with cladding systems that are unlikely to meet current Building Regulations guidance. MHCLG is aware of plans for remediating 93 buildings, work has started on 34 buildings and been completed on just nine. Excluding student accommodation and hotels, remediation is complete or there is a clear plan or commitment to carry out remediation for 59 private residential buildings. The cladding status of approximately 60 private sector residential buildings is still to be confirmed.

The Government has committed £400m to fund the removal of cladding in the social housing sector, but the work is progressing very slowly and Ministers are not putting any money into the removal of the material from private blocks

Details on all of these buildings have been passed to fire and rescue services. Enforcement notices have been issued for the vast majority of these buildings so that councils can get information on building construction from owners and pass this to the Government. Housing association Peabody has promised not

to pass on the costs of replacing cladding onto its leaseholders in four privately-owned blocks. The landlord has written to residents of 101

affected shared ownership flats in four developments across London (in Lambeth, Greenwich, Paddington and Poplar) informing them that it will not be seeking to recoup remediation costs through service charges. Meanwhile, a number of housing associations

around the country are facing issues involving dangerous cladding on blocks of flats leased from private owners, typically under Section 106 agreements. Where associations do not own the freeholds of buildings it is unclear if they will qualify for any financial help with the cladding removal costs. | HMM September 2018 | 15

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