Update - 17th September 2020
The purpose of this update is to provide information in relation to the cladding at Oxid House
Following the Grenfell Tragedy, new legislation in relation to fire safety in high rise apartments was released. This led to new government advice from Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government (MHCLG). The result of this has been a nationwide requirement to test the cladding of all buildings over 18m.
Do we now have the external wall report?
We currently do not have the full report as it is still being complied by the Fire Engineers BB7. While the report is still being written, however, the principles of the report have been agreed (in principle) between the appropriately qualified signatory and site investigation team. These initial principles are subject to change, but at this stage indicate that there are areas of concern, meaning that the appropriate EWS1 form will not be released with the report. We expect the full report to be available in the next 1-2 weeks. We will be analysing this and passing the information on upon receipt.
What were the findings of the report?
This information currently provided highlights that there are 3 areas which will either require remediation or further investigation. Two of these relate to the horizontal barriers on the exterior of the property, and one relates to internal compartmentalisation (which is now rectified). Currently we believe it best to wait for the full report before actioning as these potential issues could be subject to change.
How long will further investigation take and how much will this cost?
At this stage the timescales and cost for the further investigation are still unknown. Upon receipt of the final report we can investigate these with the fire engineers. It will, however, likely take in the region of 6-10 weeks for the further investigation.
How will work be financed?
There are four potential directions we will be exploring to fund these works if remediation is required:
Government Funding: The government has now set aside £1bn in funds to rectify non-ACM buildings. We have made an application on behalf of Oxid House and are in active discussions with Homes England, the administrators of the fund.
Warranty: As the building has a warranty on building work we will be exploring this avenue and writing to the warranty provider for comment upon receipt of the report.
The Development Company: The development company are another entity who have responsibilities and public liability insurances which we believe could be used.
Leaseholders: While this will be our last resort, leaseholders should be aware that if other avenues were to fail, the cost would fall on the leaseholders.
How long will remediation take and how much will it cost?
Until the full review is available this is extremely difficult provide information on. If remediation is required, the process would be to engage with a firm of surveyors (or similar) to write a specification and produce a drawing package in line with the fire engineer’s comments and approval. Following this, the work would need to be tendered. If leaseholders were liable or we were using a government grant, it will be subject to a Section 20 consultation (this includes two 30 day consultations as a minimum). If it were to be funded via warranty claims or directly by the development company this process would differ as it would be subject to their own processes.
Update - 22nd April 2020
As you are aware, O’Connor Bowden Rebloom have, over recent months been conducting an external wall review at Oxid House with the ultimate goal of producing an EWS1 form which is now required for mortgage purposes for this type of building. This work is to be funded through service charge contribution to the sinking fund, along with the original investigations which were done through a firm called Thomasons Surveyors with the assistance of a firm of fire engineers (Design Fire Consultants – DFC). They have conducted intrusive investigations into the façade of the building, opening up the exterior and ascertaining exactly how the walls are made up. Following investigations and as part of their report, Thomasons requested a Level 5 fire report from the construction phase. This takes a holistic view of the building and will help explain exactly how the findings within the building relating to fire are mitigated in the original design.
Unfortunately, however, after countless requests by O’Connor Bowden Rebloom, we are currently unable to locate the Level 5 reports. Multiple discussion and meetings were subsequently held with the fire engineers DFC to ascertain exactly how this information could be produced. They suggested it could be retrospectively created by them, but the work would be incredibly costly, time consuming and disruptive. For the reasons of both practicality and cost, O’Connor Bowden Rebloom decided this was not the best route at this time. We took further advice from DFC, who suggested that our clearest path forward was to approach the fire engineers who were involved in the original construction of the building, Omega Fire (now BB7). They are best positioned as they were both involved in the original design of parts of the fire strategies of the building. They also have a wealth of historic information in the form of photos and drawings which can assist their investigations. Speaking to them, they are certain that they have the required information to produce the report and subsequent EWS1.
For the stated reasons, we recently approached BB7 for a quote which they have produced, and is currently undergoing the formal consent process with directors. Once approved, this will take a further 8 weeks to complete.
We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.
This is the fullest and most in depth update we can provide at this time.
Update - 18th December 2019
We have now instructed a contractor called Thomasons to conduct the following:
- Initial scoping of the building to identify cladding types, calling locations, and basic understanding of access requirements.
- Review of existing information available.
We will be in regular contact with the contractor and further information will follow ASAP
Update - 31st October 2019
A number of requests have been made for additional information, however, this is the only documentation that is held on file at this time.
Further information has been requested via a number of channels, however, we have been unable to obtain any further reports. We are now at the stage where we will need to commission a full and extensive testing regiment of the cladding on the building, and a full set of reports. Unfortunately, this can be a very lengthy process and we are unable to give timescales, especially due to the extensive requirements in the industry at this time.
External cladding should meet a specific set of requirements for safety purposes. The cladding on the exterior of Oxid House has met the requirements set out by law.
Please see the attached diagram for full details.