Lambeth Council announced on the 16th November that it had served an improvement notice on the owners of Norwich House Apartments. The block houses 103 flats over six storeys and commercial units on the ground floor. The notice requires the removal of aluminium composite material (ACM), the type of cladding used at Grenfell Tower, and improvements to other fire safety systems. London Fire Brigade was consulted before the notice was served.
During an inspection in August, the Council found serious and significant fire safety deficiencies, including service cupboards being used to store combustible materials, an insufficiently protected 7th storey boiler room and a malfunctioning smoke extraction system.
The National Audit Office (NAO) report in June 2020 identified that 307 high rise residential buildings (over 18 metres) still have unsafe ACM cladding systems, placing their occupants at risk. Further, the experts advising the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) on cladding remediation have also commented that the risks of unsafe cladding are exacerbated where these are on buildings which house elderly or vulnerable residents. The MHCLG now are collecting data on approximately 85,000 buildings, which are three to five storeys high (under 18 metres), affected by deficient and unsafe cladding systems.
We expect other English Councils and Fire Authorities to follow Lambeth’s approach. Owners and managers of high-rise residential property clad with ACM or other flammable cladding systems should expect unannounced inspections, warning letters and improvement notices.
Get in touch for advice on Fire Safety Compliance Advice.