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This page was last updated 05 August 2021
1. Completed preliminary investigations
Encore has completed preliminary investigations into the building materials used at Admiralty Quarter and has received the architect and engineer’s draft preliminary findings.
2. Reviewed the preliminary findings
Encore has reviewed the initial findings. These have unfortunately revealed that they need to carry out some remedial work to the buildings to ensure that they comply with the government’s guidelines.
3. Installed temporary additional fire alarms
Encore has taken the advice of the fire assessors and installed an additional temporary alarm in every property, and in appropriate communal areas. Encore is exploring ways of recovering these costs.
4. Ensured that applications are made for all available government funding
An application has been made to the Waking Watch Relief Fund via Encore, our managing agents, and it has been confirmed that the cost of installing the alarm system will be be considered by the Fund.
On the 2nd of June AQB received £2.2 Million of pre-tender financial support from the Government’s Building Safety Fund (BSF). This money is to be used to finance the design and tender stage of the cladding programme. A Lead Consultant, FR Consultancy Ltd has been selected to manage the tender stage and you will have noticed they have been on site recently undertaking further opening-up works as the tender process gets underway.
5. Begun the Section 20 process for the required works
In January 2021, Encore issued Southern Housing Group with a Notice of Intended Works, and opened the first stage of a Section 20 consultation process requesting leaseholders observations and nominations for contractors.
This initial consultation period closed in February. All documents regarding the process can be found in the Important Documents section below.
Vertical and horizontal fire barriers were found to be either absent or incorrectly fitted within the cavity of the rainscreen cladding, rendered external wall insulation and timber cladding. Horizontal barriers were present within masonry walls but vertical barriers at compartment walls were missing (non-compliant). Cavities around window openings were either closed with plasterboard/cement board (considered compliant) or proprietary PVC cavity closures (likely non-compliant).
The combustible materials used in the external wall systems comply with the Building Regulations at the time of the construction but would not meet current regulations, in particular the external wall insulation on some of the blocks in Cross Street that are over 18m high and the timber cladding.
Private balconies to all the blocks have combustible timber decking with dividing screens clad in timber, and are considered to be a significant risk to fire spread due to the exposed underside of the timber decking and the vertical dividing screen providing an easy path for the fire to spread vertically between balconies.
The external frame to the front elevation of Brunswick House comprises combustible timber plates bolted either side of a steel plate. The timber is a structural component that cannot be removed without affecting the integrity of the frame. The timber frame is considered to be a risk to fire spread across the building surface in both vertical and horizontal directions and between balconies.
While Encore carries out the more detailed investigations into the remedial work and gets on with the work itself, we have taken advice from the fire brigade and our fire safety engineers to make sure that your homes have the right additional precautions in place to ensure your safety in the event of a need to evacuate the buildings.
This advice is that we should:
1. Install additional smoke detection and alarms to supplement the existing system
2. Change the fire evacuation policy to simultaneously evacuate
Whilst Encore completes the remedial works, they have changed the evacuation policy from “stay put” to “evacuate” in the event of a fire. It has changed the fire safety advice notices in your buildings to reflect this. Please read this information.
We are scoping and planning the work right now, so it is not possible to give an exact time for when the remedial work will start. We will share the exact details of the works with you as soon as we can. This is a complex process involving further detailed inspections, scoping the exact work and tendering for contractors whilst we ensure that we work in a Covid-safe way for everyone.
Yes, we think so. Due to the nature of the work needed, we think it is likely that we will be able to carry out the work without the need to move anyone out of their homes. But it does sometimes happen that we discover, in scoping and planning the work, that we may need access to the interiors of some homes. If that is necessary we will discuss this with you beforehand.
An information page has been set up for leaseholders who are looking to sell or remortgage.
In the RICS guidance note published on 8 March, it states on page 8:
“For buildings of five or six storeys, an EWS1 form should be required where:
There is a significant amount of cladding on the building (for the purpose of this guidance, approximately one quarter of the whole elevation estimated from what is visible standing at ground level is a significant amount).”
The RICS has advised that is cladding that is on one quarter of all of the visible elevations, standing at ground level, equivalent to approximately one quarter of the whole building, is normally a significant amount.
For example, in considering whether there is a significant amount of cladding on a building, cladding that links multiple floors of a building or is around the main route of escape is likely to require remediation
As stated in the latest guidance, these criteria are guidance and professional judgement will need to be applied. RICS has received information that valuers will generally regard cladding that covers more than a quarter of any single elevation of the building (even if there is not cladding on a quarter of the whole building) as significant because this will link multiple floors and be more likely to require more expensive remediation. They have therefore amended the online decision tree to reflect this.
We'll be updating these pages whenever there is new information.