Our experts have completed preliminary investigations into the building materials used at The Round House and we have received the architect and engineer’s draft preliminary findings.
2. Reviewed the preliminary findings
We have reviewed the initial findings. Unfortunately, these have revealed that we need to carry out some remedial work to the buildings to ensure that they comply with the government’s guidelines. The exact extent of these has yet to be determined.
What did the results show?
· Work is required to install cavity barriers around window openings within the brickwork (vertical sides and sills). It should be noted this would only allow a B1 classification because of the retained insulation. If an A1/A2 classification is required, it would be necessary to replace the insulation behind the brickwork with a non-combustible alternative.
· There should be a removal of the rainscreen panels, replacing the insulation with a non-combustible alternative, and an installation of cavity barriers at compartment lines and around openings and replace the rainscreen panels.
· Work is needed to replace render system with non-combustible system meeting current standards.
· Further investigation is required to confirm the extent of composite panels with combustible insulation and those with non-combustible insulation.
· There is a need to replace the composite panels containing combustible insulation with panels with non-combustible insulation.
· Work is required to replace the timber balcony decking with a non-combustible alternative.
What are you doing to ensure residents are safe?
While we carry out the more detailed investigations into the remedial work, we have taken advice from the fire brigade and our fire safety engineers. This is to ensure 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 we complete the remedial works, we have changed the evacuation policy today from “stay put” to “evacuate” in the event of a fire. We have changed the fire safety advice notices in your buildings to reflect this. Please read this information.
Timing of the work
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.
Can I stay in my home during the work?
Yes, we think so. Due to the nature of the work, 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. However, sometimes 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.
What should I do if there’s a fire?
If a there is a fire in the building, please evacuate the building immediately. The fire safety strategy has recently changed - please see the Fire Safety Procedure for more information.
Will leaseholders be charged for the costs of the remedial work?
Your safety is our first priority. Questions about how building safety remedial work is funded never stand in the way of us getting the necessary work done, however the costs of work do need to be funded from somewhere.
We will do all we can to protect leaseholders from these costs by seeking to recover them from those responsible for any building defects or from the government if at all possible.
We are investigating the potential to claim these costs from a third party, where this is available.
As a charitable housing association, the way we are run and how we spend our money is regulated by the Government. What this means is that if we cannot find an alternative source of reimbursement for the costs of the remedial work then we have no choice but to seek to recover costs under the terms of your leases. This is because the way we spend our money is subject to strict rules and we are not permitted to write off these costs if there is an alternative option.
This is never our preferred way forward and we understand that this may be concerning for leaseholders. We hope that this will not be necessary, but it would be wrong not to be clear about the possibility at this stage.
We do not know how much the work is likely to cost at this stage. We are working on getting that information as soon as possible.
Please be assured that residents are not being asked to cover the costs of the fire alarm installation or the 24-hour fire patrols.
I’m trying to sell or remortgage my home – how will this impact on that?
As part of the external wall system review process, the building's owner, Landsec, has received the EWS1 certificate which can be used by residents who wish to sell their properties. The lender will require the certificate so they may make a mortgage decision to a potential buyer. At the current time, the building is rated at a B2 level. This may not satisfy some lenders. By undertaking the remedial work, we would be confident that the Round House would achieve a higher rating.
In addition to the EWS1 certificate, Landsec has also received a report, written by JGA Fire Engineers which details how the investigation was undertaken, the findings of that investigation and the recommendations for any further work or interim measures which may be required at the building. Residents can view that document here.
How can I find out more?
We'll be updating these pages whenever there is new information.