Hounslow Council To Remove Cladding At Tower Block

The cladding at Clements Court in Cranford failed a combustion test

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Following independent testing this week of cladding on Clements Court tower in Cranford, the following statement has been issued by Councillor Steve Curran, Leader of Hounslow Council.

“Following the tragic events of Grenfell Tower, Hounslow Council immediately took steps to assure our tenants and leaseholders of the safety of our housing stock.

“Following DCLG advice, we submitted a sample from Clements Court tower, which is the only cladded high-rise in the Borough that has used “Aluminium Composite Materials” [ACM].

“We were informed late last night by the DCLG that the sample of the outer ‘Aluminium Composite Material’ [ACM] cladding used on Clements Court tower has failed the Building Research Establishment [BRE] combustion test.

clements court flats in cranford

The outer shell cladding is made up of two thin aluminium sheets with polyethylene filler in between them. However, the insulation material behind this outer cladding is a ‘rockwool’ material which is a non-combustible product, unlike the case of the Grenfell Tower, where the insulation was a combustible type.

The system at Clements Court also differs from that at Grenfell Tower in so far as there was no interference with the interior of the building as part of the installation.

“We have, therefore, decided that we will take steps to remove the outer cladding from the building as soon as is practical. We are currently looking into how best and swiftly this can be done.

"In terms of other immediate actions, we will: Engage with the London Fire Brigade to carry out home safety tests in every flat of Clements Court tower. These will start today and complete over the weekend; Carry out another thorough Fire Risk Assessment on Monday 26 June, jointly with London Fire Safety Unit, our Building Regulations department and our specialist consultants.
Provide a dedicated “fire watch” patrol – this will start on Saturday 24 June; Carry out any immediate actions that may arise from further safety tests and assessments; Ensure that all access to the block is kept clear.

“We have written immediately to residents at Clements Court today [Friday 23 June] to inform them and to outline the actions we will be taking.

"We have invited all tenants at Clements Court to a meeting with the Director of Housing at 10am on Saturday 24 June, at the Alf Chandler Centre, Benson Close, Hounslow, TW3 3OX.

“Our upmost priority is and remains the safety and welfare of our tenants at Clements Court and we will continue to respond swiftly to the recommendations from Government and the London Fire Brigade.”

An application was granted in 2008 for the installation of new rainscreen cladding to the 13-floor block of flats No. 1 to 78.The site comprises four separate blocks of flats, situated on the eastern side of Green Lane, Hounslow.

This involved changes to the existing external cladding with a reynobond decorative panel, colours steel metal and dark blue, and with red bricks slip panel at the bottom of the block.

The Council's report stated that "It is considered that the proposed cladding would be an improvement to the block of flats. The proposed cladding would uplift the appearance of the block and be in keeping with (would not harm) the locality. There would also be no detrimental impact upon the amenity of the existing occupiers or of the neighbouring properties. It would
therefore comply with the relevant Unitary Development policies and is recommended for approval subject to safeguarding conditions."

Some of the objections to the proposed cladding included fears that the cladding would be creating an aircraft hazard because the block of flats is near Heathrow Airport runway and the cladding would reflect, causing a crash. BAA had been consulted and raised no objection to this.

Another objection was that the cladding might create a road traffic hazard in that the reflection might blind or startle motorists.

June 27, 2017

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