Remediation work to replace the cladding system on a council-owned tower block in north Manchester is now finished.
Manchester City Council and its ALMO Northwards Housing commissioned a full independent review of the cladding system at Whitebeck Court after discovering that a small number of panels did not match the specification on the building completion certification. The certificate was filed to the Council’s Building Control around nine years ago.
As a precautionary measure, the original contractor Wates Living Space agreed to remove all of the cladding and insulation panels from the property and replace it with a fully compliant system.
The work was carried out to the extra care accommodation, which comprises 91 flats for residents over the age of 55, at Wates’ own expense.
“As soon as it became apparent that a small number of cladding panels did not meet the specification requirements, we responded immediately and worked in partnership with Northwards to develop and implement a full remedial strategy,” said Steve Jackson, strategic director for Wates Property Services. “Safety is the number one priority in all aspects of our work and we are now fully satisfied that the residents’ homes meet with the high standards required.”
Regular cladding inspections
During the works, the council’s building control inspected the property at regular intervals to ensure compliance with current regulations.
Although a number of cladding panels did not meet the specification expected on the property Northward’s independent fire expert, who worked closely with Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue (GMFRS), remained satisfied that the building remained safe for residents, as it is already fitted with a full fire alarm system and sprinklers are fitted in all flats and communal areas.
Whitebeck Court was the only Manchester City Council-owned building that required remediation works to ensure resident safety following the Grenfell Tragedy in 2017 and Manchester City Council has now been named – along with Wates Group -– an Early Adopter organisation of the Hackitt Review for building safety.
Councillor Suzanne Richards, Manchester City Council’s executive member for housing and regeneration, said: “We know it will be some relief that residents in Whitebeck Court can say farewell to the contractors who have been working on their home for the past few months.
“I would like to thank them for their patience while this work was completed and their understanding that it was vital that we completed this work for their reassurance and their safety. It would’ve been inconceivable that we wouldn’t act when it became apparent that a number of cladding tiles did not match building control records.
“A thank you is also in order to Northwards for diligently guiding the project and ensuring that works were completed in a timely and to a high standard – particularly during lockdown conditions.”
Sue Abbott, Chair of the Northwards Board, added: “Here at Northwards, the safety of our customers has always been our top priority. We are delighted that this vital work is now complete and that residents can be confident their homes are as safe as they possibly can be.”