Universities start to strip cladding from student halls

Aaron Morby 5 years ago
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Many of Britain’s Universities are now being hit by concerns about the fire safety of cladding.

Several universities have found aluminium cladding modules of the kind used at Grenfell on their high-rise student accommodation blocks.

Edinburgh Napier University was so alarmed at the discovery at its student residence, Bainfield Halls, that it has ordered it to be stripped and replaced.

While a survey found that non-combustible insulation had been fitted behind the panels and wall cavities were properly fire-stopped and sprinklers fitted to buildings, the University has still decided to replace the aluminium cladding over the summer.

Elsewhere the privately-owned Shield Building in Newcastle, due to open later this year, has been fitted with Reynobond Polyethylene core cladding.

It has also been confirmed that the privately-run St James’ Point building is fitted with this cladding but the owners insisted accommodation, which was built by Shepherd Construction, was to the highest fire safety standards with sprinklers, a firefighting lift and alarms.

Both buildings will be used to house students from across Newcastle.

Nottingham Trent University has also confirmed three of the seven blocks at its Byron House student complex built by Vinci were clad using Reynobond.

Further south, Bournemouth University has confirmed that a similar type of cladding has been found on one of its student accommodation blocks.

The 16-storey building was developed by Watkin Jones for Bournemouth and the Kaplan International College, and currently houses nearly 400 students.

It has been reported that the building was previously reviewed for safety in January 2016 following panels falling off the exterior of the complex; however no fire-safety warnings were reported.

In Essex, a student accommodation complex, which houses both students from South Essex College and the University of Essex is currently under review. The accommodation currently houses 561 students, with shared kitchen facilities.

Danielle Cullen, Managing Director at StudentTenant.com, said: “It’s saddening to hear that newly developed buildings, and buildings which have been recently reviewed by professionals, are using the exact same cladding as Grenfell Tower.

“How have the architects, builders, and providers of the cladding missed how potentially dangerous it is until now? Why has it taken an awful tragedy to highlight how unsafe this is?”

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