Increased Scrutiny Of Bradford's High Rise Buildings

Grenfell Tower, London.

An extra 34 buildings across the district are to be inspected.

Safety of high rise buildings in Bradford is being scrutinised more than ever in the aftermath of the Grenfell Tower disaster – Councillors have been told.

Since the tragedy that claimed 72 lives, there has been a huge amount of work done across the country to try to prevent a repeat of the catastrophic high rise fire, which happened in June 2017.

At a meeting of Bradford Council’s Regeneration and Environment Scrutiny Committee last week, members were given an update on how safe Bradford’s building are.

Although Bradford has fewer high rise buildings than many big cities, there has still been work done to make sure its buildings are compliant with fire regulations, and do not have the same cladding that Grenfell Tower had.

One building, Appleton Point on Hamm Strasse, has already been evacuated due to fire safety fears, and remains empty.

And an improvement notice has been served on the owners of Landmark House on Bridge Street to replace unsafe cladding.

And Council officers have revealed that a recent conversion, that saw a high rise office building turned into flats, has also raised concerns and will need re-fitting before it can be occupied.

Members of the committee were not told which building it was, but officers said the recent conversion, which is yet to be occupied, contained some materials that did not meet building standards.

Work is currently being done to deal with this issue before people move in to the affected appartments.

They were also told that the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government recently extended their requirement for data collection on all high rise residential buildings in the country.

It means the details of the external wall construction materials will have to be examined.

That will mean an extra 34 buildings across the Bradford District will have to be inspected.

At the meeting Justin Booth, Principal Building Control Surveyor, told members he understood that the owners of Appleton Point and Landmark House had applied for government funding to replace the cladding, although he said this was an exhaustive process.

He said such work came at a “considerable cost.”

Explaining the task of collecting data on all the 34 buildings required he added: “It is a big amount of data collection, and is not straight forward.

“Most of the building compliance work when these buildings were built was done by private companies, so we have little date of what these buildings are made of. It is proving a little difficult. All these different claddings often look the same.

“The future of high rise buildings and how they’ll be dealt with hasn’t been determined yet. There are expected to be changes in building regulations. The government intends a substantial re-writing of the fire safety side of building regulations, but we’re not sure when that will be.”

Be said a regulatory body may be set up to oversee high rise buildings from when they are built to when they are demolished, and local Councils would have a part to play in that.

Councillor Joanne Dodds (Lab, Great Horton), said: “This sounds deeply challenging. I can’t imagine what it must be like to source all the details for these buildings.”

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