Cladding removal ‘yet to begin’ on 345 high rises

Cladding removal ‘yet to begin’ on 345 high rises

THE LATEST update from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) revealed that work on 345 high rises with combustible cladding is ‘yet to start’.

New Civil Engineer reported on the MHCLG update, which states that remedial work on the 345 buildings – which have aluminium composite material (ACM) cladding that failed the government’s fire safety tests – has ‘yet to begin’, including 112 social housing blocks and seven ‘publicly-owned’ health service buildings. Additionally, the number includes 226 private sector buildings, of which 166 are residential, 31 are hotels and 29 student accommodation.

All of the buildings listed are ‘yet to see any corrective work’ on the ACM cladding, with 89 high rise residential and publicly owned buildings having had ACM removed as of the end of March. Of that number, just over half were social housing, and the remainder were privately owned buildings. In February this year, it was revealed that 361 buildings still had ACM cladding, despite the combustible materials ban announced last November.

This was implemented via the Building (Amendment) Regulations 2018 and which came into force on 21 December 2018 with a two month transitional period. The ban however does not apply to existing buildings ‘where no building work is being carried out’. In those cases the buildings are ‘part of a case by case risk based approach to fire safety’, which is said to be the ‘most appropriate’ in line with advice already issued by MHCLG and the government’s expert panel.

A series of councils including Greenwich, Salford and Tower Hamlets have over 20 buildings where ACM cladding systems ‘are unlikely’ to meet building regulations, while Brent, Manchester, Newham, Wandsworth and Westminster ‘have between’ 11 and 20 such buildings. MHCLG pointed out that the work to remove and replace cladding is ‘a complex process and involves addressing any issues with the exterior cladding system and broader fire safety systems’ for each building.

MHCLG also previously noted that the work ‘takes time’ and ‘varies considerably depending on the building structure, extent of cladding, and existing fire safety systems’, which for many buildings is ‘complex’ and involves ‘major construction work’ that needs to be ‘planned, consulted on an carried out carefully’.