Tower blocks to have cladding replaced in renovation plans

The cladding on two Dagenham tower blocks will be removed in an “early modernisation” of both buildings, despite tests showing the material is different to that used on Grenfell Tower.

Residents in Oldmead House, in Exeter Road, and Bartletts House, in Vicarage Road, were informed by hand-delivered letters that “the most modern and up-to-date fire resistant material available” would replace the blocks’ cladding and insulation - writes barkinganddagenhampost.

Barking and Dagenham Council chief operating officer Claire Symonds said in the letter: “I can confirm that both blocks do not have the same type of cladding material as was present at Grenfell Tower.

“Our independent fire safety experts and the London Fire Brigade are satisfied that the buildings have met all necessary tests, are safe and are not at risk of the kind of external fire which occurred in West London.”

At least 80 people were killed in a fire in Grenfell Tower in June.

The north Kensington tower block’s aluminium composite material (ACM) cladding is believed to have turned the fire into an inferno.

Barking and Dagenham Council took the decision after sending cladding samples on four tower blocks for independent tests following the fire.

Ms Symonds added: “Notwithstanding the assurance provided above, and with the expectation that the current reviews being conducted by [the] Government into building regulations will results in tighter controls, the council has decided to embark on an early modernisation of the blocks you live in.”

Leaseholders will not be charged for the work, which commenced earlier this month and will last until spring 2018.

Contractor Mulalley is carrying out the refurbishment.

A council spokesman said: “The two buildings meet all necessary safety tests, as confirmed by independent fire safety experts. The external façade is not ACM cladding, which was found to have been used on Grenfell Tower, and 
is fitted in an entirely different way.

“Although building regulations often change, and we have received no instruction to take any action, in the interests of ensuring our residents’ safety, the council has decided to embark on an early modernisation of the two tower blocks as part of this year’s capital improvement programme.”

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