Five years on, Grenfell ramifications continue
Ongoing efforts to improve safety standards have seen Intelligent FS secure a £3.5m contract to reclad Milliners Wharf in Manchester, while Morgan Sindall could face a £50m repairs bill.
Intelligent FS, which has tripled its workforce following a growth spurt built on replacing non-compliant insulation, will tackle the 450-apartment Ancoats block without the need for residents to leave their homes during the estimated 55-week project.
The treatment requires the complete removal of the existing insulation before a full-cavity fire barrier installation takes place. As well as cladding remediation, Intelligent FS will provide full cladding and fire design services.
Intelligent FS, which has completed work at places including Burnley Combined Court, has worked with access specialists to design a hybrid access solution for the canalside facade of Milliners Wharf.
Co-founder Rob Williams said: “Intelligent FS has worked in close collaboration with the building owners and their consultants to produce a remedial solution that meets stringent client requirements.
“This substantial award reinforces our growing influence in the cladding sector and fully justifies the internal investment programme we have undertaken for the business.”
Across the country, work to overhaul buildings found to contain the aluminium composite material cladding identified as the leading cause of the Grenfell tragedy is still ongoing. Intelligent FS said that work is in progress on 111 buildings above 18 storeys. A further 58 still have ACM cladding.
Mid-rise buildings are also an issue. The Department for Levelling-Up, Housing & Communities said in May that 10% of buildings of 11.18 storeys require a fix.
Progress has been made this year. In April, the government announced an agreement that it said will see the industry contribute £5bn to address the building safety scandal. DLUHC said that at least £2bn will be paid to remediate legacy buildings, with further funding coming from an expansion of the Building Safety Levy. The government hailed the agreement as a victory for leaseholders.
Forty-five housebuilders have signed up for the scheme. Although Morgan Sindall’s housing arm Lovell Partnerships is one of those, circumstances have changed since the deal was struck.
As recorded in MS’s group results released yesterday, a letter was received from the DLUHC in July requesting the company’s regeneration arm, Muse Developments, should also commit to the “developer pledge” regarding cladding remediation and fire safety. This would be over and above the company’s obligations under the new Building Safety Act.
MS said that although in most cases contractual coverage and other remedies are in place to cover costs, recovering cash from third parties will inevitably be a drawn-out process. The company said that if it committed to the government’s proposal, the costs of funding works will be required to be reported in an earlier period than the income recovering those costs.
Although the company’s review of historic developments remains ongoing, “the initial assessment of the charge to the group should urban regeneration (ie Muse and English Cities Fund) also take on the obligations of the principles of the pledge, is in the range of £40m to £50m”.
In the half-year accounts reported this week, a provision of £7m was charged through operating results to cover liabilities identified to date.