The High Court earlier this month ordered that landlord Ground Rents Income Fund must replace one thousand glazing panels on Manchester’s tallest residential tower because of safety concerns after the discovery that sealant used to fix the panels is failing.
It was given 18 months to complete the refit of the 47 storey building, after main contractor Carillion’s collapse stalled progress to find a remedial solution.
Problems with the sealant around some of the 1,350 single glazed insulated shadow box units was first uncovered back in 2014.
This revealed failure of the bond between the structural sealant and the polyester powder coating applied to the supporting cladding frames.
As a temporary fix, while a permanent solution was found, Carillion fitted pressure plates to the frame profiles to hold the panels securely in position.
This urgent safety work was completed over four years ago. But progress on the subsequent detailed investigation and assessment of options for a safe long term solution became so protracted that nothing concrete was agreed by the time Carillion collapsed a year ago.
Malcolm Naish, the Chairman of Ground Rents Income Fund said the firm continued to take advice on how best to respond to the judgment.
He said: “The court ordered the temporary hoardings which had been erected by Carillion outside the hotel as an exclusion zone to be removed by 28 February 2019. It is expected that the completion of their removal will be finished within days.
“The cost of the permanent remedial works to the façade of Beetham Tower, Deansgate, Manchester, has been estimated by NWGR’s advisers, based on their recommended solution, to be approximately £4.0m, excluding VAT, any professional advisory costs and damages yet to be determined.”
He added: “NWGR is pursuing the proceedings it has already issued against Carillion through its insurers and the sub‐contractor BUG, through existing warranties and indemnities, which, if successful, would greatly limit any potential liabilities or irrecoverable losses for NWGR.
“However, in order to comply with the judgment NWGR will be required to finance the remedial work and any litigation costs while
seeking recovery from Carillion’s Insurers and BUG. There can be no guarantee that NWGR will be successful in that recovery, but it has
received legal and expert advice which suggests that its case is strong.
“If NWGR is unsuccessful in its action against the original contractor’s insurers or the sub‐contractor, it may be able to recover some of the remedial works costs from other parties,” said Naish.