Proposal to obtain a Fire Consultants report

The Background

It was discovered following the Grenfell Tragedy that New Providence Wharf is fitted with ACM Cladding which is Category 3 flammable. This is dangerous flammable Alucobond material identified by  Government Testing.  Once the tests were undertaken and the Category confirmed, it was evident the Cladding needed to be removed promptly. To date works have not commenced and we are approaching the second anniversary of Grenfell.   

The information we have so far

The Freeholder Ballymore commissioned a report from Hoare Lea Fire Consultants/ Engineers. A copy of the report is available here (click to link). The report was commissioned following the testing  in or around August 2017 but the copy sent to the NPWLRA is dated 2018. We  understand that it may have been revised given that it is referred to as Revision 2.  We contacted the London Fire Brigade as we understood that a copy of the original report was sent to them by Hoare Lea. We asked for a copy of the original report and received the following response:

the London Fire Brigade (LFB) hold a copy a report entitled: “New Providence Wharf, London Fire safety review of external cladding 18/09/2017 Revision 1” the report prepared by Ballymore and Hoare Lea in respect of New Providence Wharf. However at this time, we consider this report to be exempt from FOIA by virtue of section 31 – Law Enforcement as the information was provided voluntarily as part of our work with those responsible for the premises.  The Information Commissioner recognises the value of having a safe space to work with those being regulated in their guidance on Section 31 of FOIA. In the section on “Voluntary supply of information” the Commissioner notes “… even where the provider of the information is not a confidential source, there is still a public interest in not discouraging others from cooperating with public authorities and supplying them with the information they need on a voluntary basis”.

In summary, they hold Revision 1 but cited reasons for non disclosure.

The report identifies a number of issues in relation to fire safety that needed to be addressed in addition to the  recommended removal of ACM cladding. The Government will fund the removal of the cladding (as of 9th May 2019) but it is unlikely that they will  fund potential defects such as those highlighted in the report of Hoare Lea. Our view is that leaseholders should not be responsible for remediation works of this nature. In addition given the  probable revisions to the report we do not know what other defects there may be. The Freeholder has also previously stated that they do not know what is behind the panels that may require more work. Again this should not be leaseholders’ responsibility.

Why we need the report

We therefore consider that an independent Consultant should be engaged to prepare a report for Leaseholders identifying all issues so that we can be sure that when works to NPW are undertaken, we are assured that all defects and all fire safety issues are addressed and rectified. We can not rely upon the report of Hoare Lea given we do not appear to have seen a complete version. An independent report will ensure that we identify all  issues once and for all and ensure that we do not have to pay for the remedial works. We have sourced a highly experienced and highly respected Expert who is prepared to undertake the work. The cost of the report is likely to be in the region of £6000 plus VAT.

If you are prepared to support this necessary initiative, we’ll soon be releasing a feature on the website to provide your support..