Fire-break scare forces £100m student scheme refit

Aaron Morby 3 years ago
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An award-winning £100m student scheme is facing a major refit after fire breaks were found to be missing or inadequately  fitted at a seven-block development in West London.

Paragon Student scheme near Brentford completed in 2007 now needs £8m worth of retrofit work
Paragon Student scheme near Brentford completed in 2007 now needs £8m worth of retrofit work

The Paragon student development near Brentford came under scrutiny after the Grenfell Tower disaster.

While the tower was initially given a clean bill of health for not having combustible aluminium cladding modules, checks have revealed inadequate cavity barriers behind the cladding.

Now Notting Hill Housing Trust, which owns the Paragon Living student business, plans an £8m programme to replace external cladding and to install proprietary fire breaks and cavity barriers.

When built in 2007, the scheme which includes blocks ranging from 4-17 storeys, was acclaimed as one of the tallest modular buildings in the world.

The housing association has picked London refurb specialist AD Group to carry out the works.

The housing association said that it did not launch an OJEU procurement contest because of the urgent need to replace external cladding and to install proprietary fire breaks and cavity barriers to student accommodation and mixed residential flats to minimise risk of fire and re-establish fire safety compliance.

The notice said: “Paragon student accommodation has been found to have incorrectly installed and missing fire breaks or cavity barriers behind the cladding system which means in the event of fire, flames could travel externally between floors.

“The tower individual blocks C, D, E, F are occupied by 839 students and blocks A, B incorporate 221 self-contained one and two bedroom flats, whilst steps have been taken to mitigate risk, there is an urgent need to re-establish fire safety compliance.”

In a further statement a housing association spokeswoman said: “In 2016, Notting Hill Housing became aware that the fixings on some cladding panels at our Paragon Student Lets site needed replacing so we carried out a full review of the external envelope of the building and scoped a programme of remedial works.

“Following the tragic Grenfell Tower fire, we reviewed all tall buildings in our stock – this review included the Paragon site.

“The safety of our residents and their visitors is paramount. The fire safety measures in place have been agreed with the London Fire Brigade and ensure that our residents are safe both now and while the works are being undertaken.

“We are not seeking any recourse from the builders or designers of Paragon.”

 

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