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Cladding samples from Croydon’s second tallest tower to be sent for fire testing

Cladding samples from Croydon’s second tallest tower to be sent for fire testing
Jul 10, 2017 Shaking Hands 0 comments
This post was first published by Croydon Advertiser on 05/07/2017.

Cladding samples from Croydon’s second tallest tower to be sent for fire testing

Cladding samples are in the process of being sent from Croydon’s second tallest tower block to the Government for flammability testing after the fatal Grenfell Tower fire.

Emails to residents from Altitude 25’s management company and residents’ group say that samples will be taken for testing because it is unclear what type of cladding was used on each block of the tower, in Altyre Road, and the neighbouring Latitude flats which flank Barclay Road and Addiscombe Grove.

The Government has set up a testing facility for cladding after the horrific fire which claimed the lives of dozens in Grenfell Tower, in west London, in June.

As of Monday (July 3), 181 different samples of cladding from tower blocks across the country have failed the fire safety tests.

The emails said that the building manual for the 26-storey skyscraper is “inconclusive” about the type of cladding used on each block of the development, which when completed in 2009 was Croydon’s tallest block of flats.

One sent to residents said: “Because there are several different types across the different blocks, sampling is going to be carried out to establish which type has been used in which block. Once we know that, we can hopefully confirm a clean bill of health.”

On June 30, another email was sent on behalf of the building’s management company, HML Andertons, that said inspectors have met with a contractor ahead of sampling works.

It said: “Our inspectors have met with the contractor we are planning on engaging to carry out the sampling, who is at the moment drawing up costs.

“As I’m sure you’ll appreciate, this isn’t a simple process, as samples have to be taken from both the ground floor, and above the sixth floor, so we may need to arrange high level access to some of the blocks.”

A fire assessor was also due to visit the building at the end of June, to whom residents’ questions have been passed.

A statement from HML Andertons, issued shortly after the Grenfell tragedy, confirmed that an “urgent and thorough review” would take place of all properties it manages that are over eight stories tall.

The tower’s freehold has been sold at least twice since its construction.

The statement said the emergency plan for the block, which is not fitted with sprinklers but has wet risers installed, was being reviewed and residents would be notified of the results.

The Advertiser has repeatedly contacted HML Andertons for comment over the past fortnight but has received no response.

In 2009 Select Plant Hire Company Ltd was fined £100,000 for breaching health and safety rules after a crane working on Altitude 25’s construction fell and crashed onto the roof of the Croydon Park Hotel in June 2007, leaving the crane driver with severe spinal injuries.

Last year Altitude 25 was eclipsed as Croydon’s tallest building by the 134 metre tall Saffron Tower, part of the Saffron Square development

An email to Altitude and Latitude residents sent towards the end of June said: “Unfortunately since the firm who had the cladding contract is no longer trading, they cannot be contacted to provide information [on the type of cladding used]. A surveyor has been engaged and has a team looking at the cladding, starting this week.”