Cladding and fire safety

The action we’re taking to make sure our buildings comply with the latest government guidance on fire safety

Cladding and fire safety

This page includes information about the actions we’re taking to make sure our buildings comply with the latest government guidance on fire safety. As government advice and legislation continues to evolve we will keep this page up to date. We are also in regular direct communication with customers in ACM and HPL cladded buildings to keep them up to date. This page includes information on fire safety remediation works, finding the right solutions to ensure the highest level of safety, funding the cost of remediation works as well as how you can contact us about fire safety. If you live in an apartment and you’re thinking of remortgaging, selling or staircasing, you can find information on EWS1 forms here.

Fire safety remediation works   

Following the fire at Grenfell Tower, the government completed a review of building safety and announced new guidelines to ensure properties are safely constructed and maintained. We continue to take action so that our buildings are compliant with the latest government recommendations to ensure the highest level of fire safety for our customers.

In line with these recommendations, our priority is the removal of ACM cladding (the cladding most similar to that on Grenfell Tower) from 3 blocks of flats in Portsmouth. The ACM cladding has been removed and work is due to be completed in January 2021. We’re also prioritising the safe removal of HPL cladding from 3 blocks in Southampton and we’re currently obtaining quotes from suppliers to complete the works and aim to start the replacement works by March 2021.

Finding the right solutions to ensure the highest level of safety 

To make ACM and HPL cladded buildings safer we’ve taken quick action. Ahead of work starting to remove the cladding on these buildings we put in interim extra measures to ensure everyone remained safe. We have covered the costs of all of these interim measures so none will be recharged to customers.  

Finding the best solution to replace ACM and HPL cladding has been complex and we want to make sure the solutions for these buildings provide the highest level of safety.

Funding the cost of remediation work

This year the government set up a Building Safety Fund to help contribute to the huge costs associated with remediation work needed to make HPL cladded buildings safe, and in recognition that this is impacting many residents across the country who face the possibility of having to pay for works to the building they live in. To support our leaseholders and shared owners, we made a bid for this funding. 

We’re pleased that our application for funding has been successful. The funding to be granted will cover the costs of the cladding replacement works that would otherwise be charged to our leaseholders at Empire View and Gantry Court. This means leaseholders in these properties won’t have to pay any costs in relation to cladding remediation works and we’ve been quick to inform them of this news. We will continue the work we’ve already been doing to progress plans to replace the cladding as soon as possible.

To ensure safety of everyone living in these 3 HPL blocks before the cladding is replaced, we’ve moved quickly to complete and cover the cost for the following:

  • Install a fire detection system and put in place a 24/7 ‘waking watch’ fire patrol until this was installed
  • Conduct extra checks on communal area doors to ensure they are suitably fire resistant and effectively self-closing
  • Complete external wall and intrusive wall surveys to help assess the best replacement solution
  • Investigate replacement cladding systems
  • Work with legal experts to continue pursuing third parties, which is a condition of the government funding

A phased approach to other buildings 

Now we’re focusing on our high-risk residential buildings which are over 18 metres or have a known issue such as ACM cladding. We’re in the process of completing thorough inspections of these blocks, before then rolling out inspections to buildings over 11 metres. These investigations will be prioritised by risk, based on things such as height and building materials, amongst other factors. Our buildings have current safety certificates and some external building materials that need to be replaced are not a threat to safety and will be replaced over time.  

Due to the extent of the new government guidance, we anticipate that inspections, testing and any necessary remedial works to our buildings may take several years to complete. If an inspection or any works are needed to a building, we will keep customers informed.  

In the meantime, we’d like to reassure you that the safety of customers is our main priority. We’re working closely with Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service and can confirm that all blocks are deemed safe. Fire risk assessments for our buildings are reviewed in line with the risk that each building poses and any recommendations are dealt with immediately or added to a programme to be completed as soon as possible. Please also be assured that all our blocks received building control sign off at the time of the build. 

EWS1 forms

If you're a leaseholder living in an apartment and you’re thinking of remortgaging, selling or staircasing, you can find information on EWS1 forms here.

  • Continue to be vigilant and make sure that the communal areas are free of obstructions to your escape from fire
  • Make sure the original smoke alarm in your home is working and test this monthly
  • You should not smoke or store flammable materials on your balcony
  • As stated in your lease / tenancy, barbecues should not be used or stored on balconies
  • Read the fire signage in the building and make sure any visitors to your home are aware of the emergency evacuation procedure
  • Don’t throw anything from your balcony and windows, including cigarette butts and food waste.

You can view more practical information on how to protect yourself from fire on our fire safety webpage.

Contact us

If you have any questions or concerns, please get in touch with our Fire Safety Liaison Officer: firesafety@vividhomes.co.uk.

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