Beetham Tower applies for cladding fix to window woes

The 47-storey tower, which was the tallest building in Manchester until 2018, is to undergo work to secure 1,440 windows that were found to be loose when it was inspected in 2014. 

A planning application has been submitted by London-based building consultant MBHC Cumming on behalf of landlord North West Ground Rents, a subsidiary of the tower’s owner, Ground Rents Income Fund, for the crucial repairs. 

The application follows a High Court ruling last February after the leaseholder Blue Manchester, which owns the Manchester Hilton Hotel which occupies 22 floors of the tower, took legal action against the landlord over safety concerns in 2014. It was estimated at the time that the reparation work would cost around £4m.

That 2014 building inspection found that the structural sealant securing the shadow box units – one of two types of window used on the tower – to its structural aluminium framework, was failing. 

After that inspection, Carillion, which built the SimpsonHaugh-designed tower, provided a temporary solution to secure the windows by applying stitch plates to hold them in place. 

Carillion Temporary Fix

Carillion’s temporary fix involved stitch plates

However, Carillion fell into administration in 2018, before a permanent solution for the problem was found. 

Now, planning permission is being sought from Manchester City Council to fix surface-mounted pressure plates to all vertical joints between the two different types of windows. All windows affected are on the lower 22-storeys occupied by the Hilton. 

This option is one of two that were presented to the landlord, which was required to pay for the necessary repairs under the 2019 High Court ruling. The other option required the removal of all shadow box units and subsequent replacement of the bond material and carrier frames. 

However, the landlord would have been “unable to fund the cost” of this work, according to a design and access statement from consultant MHBC Cumming.  

The chosen method of work requires planning consent as it alters the building’s appearance, whereas planning permission would not have been required for the more expensive method. 

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