Fire safety update

Following the revisions to fire safety regulations as a result of the tragic Grenfell Tower Fire in June 2017, a full review was undertaken of all properties within our portfolio.  At the time, it was found that Premier House, Edgware had the same cladding installed as that at Grenfell Tower. Updates regarding the fire safety position at Premier House can be found below.

It was also found that Picture Works, Nottingham had inappropriate cladding.  Whilst the cladding does not use ACMs (the type installed at Grenfell Tower), neither the frame nor the insulation are fire rated and there are no requisite barriers.  Updates regarding the fire safety position at Picture Works can be found below.

We have recently been advised by the freeholder’s managing agents at Vista Towers, Stevenage that their surveyor has confirmed that the cladding on the exterior of the property is not ACM cladding, however, the infill panels were found to be a UPVC facing panel backed on to a polystyrene core and timber panel.  This is believed to be combustible. Updates regarding the fire safety position at Vista Towers can be found below.

With regard to the remainder of the portfolio, please see below.

Purpose Built Student Accommodation (PBSA) blocks:

We can confirm that all PBSA blocks within the portfolio have regular fire risk assessments undertaken by independent professional fire risk specialists.  All blocks are below the 18 metre (6 storey) threshold requiring cladding to be tested for ACM cladding materials, however, we have undertaken an evaluation of all blocks with cladding regardless of the fact that they do not reach the threshold.  Verney Street – Exeter, Pitt Street Studios – Newcastle and Terence House – Newcastle all have cladding installed on the exterior of the building, however, we have confirmation that the materials used are not ACM cladding materials and as the buildings fall below the 18 metre threshold no remediation works are required.

The fire safety concerns and remediation works required at Fairchild House, Southampton have been completed and we are in receipt of a clear fire risk assessment in relation to this property.

Residential Properties:

Whilst no other blocks within the portfolio have ACM cladding installed, Advice Note 14 was published by the Government in December 2018 which provides guidance for building owners with non-ACM materials in their external wall systems, including cladding and insulation.

While not a legal requirement, the note gives strong guidance to owners of buildings above 18m to take “general fire precautions” in their buildings and to make sure that external wall systems are “safe”.

The definition of “safe” in the Advice Note is two-fold. First, all materials must be safely installed and maintained. Second, the external wall systems (including cladding and insulation) must contain materials that are of limited combustibility or be a system that has achieved the Building Research Establishment’s BR 135 classification.

To achieve this classification, systems will need to go through a BS 8414 test, something that very few materials being used have gone through.

This means if the materials on an owner’s building are combustible and have not passed these specific tests, that property would be contravening the Advice Note and in need of remediation.

The Advice Note also requires the building owner, or responsible person, to have an up-to-date fire risk assessment for their building.

As a result of Advice Note 14, managing agents for each of our blocks are undertaking further reviews of fire safety. 

Premier House, Edgware
1) 7 June 2018 here
2) 28 June 2018 here
3) 31 July 2018 here
4) 27 September 2018 here
5) 20 December 2018 here
6) 5 April 2019 here
7) 9 May 2019 here
8) 5 July 2019 here
9) 7 October 2019 here
10) 6 January 2020 here
11) 23 January 2020 here

The Picture Works, Nottingham
1) 28 June 2018 here
2) 31 July 2018 here
3) 27 September 2018 here
4) 20 December 2018 here
5) 5 April 2019 here
6) 9 May 2019 here
7) 5 July 2019 here
8) 7 October 2019 here
9) 6 January 2020 here

Vista Tower, Stevenage
1) 13 December 2019 here

Fairchild, Southampton PBSA
1) 21 June 2019 here
2) 7 October 2019 here
3) 6 January 2020 here

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