Havering Council to order replacement of unsafe cladding material at Axis buildings in Romford

The Axis development in Mercury Gardens, Romford. Picture: April Roach

The Axis development in Mercury Gardens, Romford. Picture: April Roach - Credit: Archant

Havering Council is to order the owner of a housing development in Romford to replace cladding material that could pose a risk in the event of a fire.

The authority said it is “taking steps” to serve an improvement notice concerning the Axis buildings, in Mercury Gardens, for remedial work to be carried out.

The Recorder revealed in March that Vision, which manages the buildings, commissioned a report last year which highlighted concerns around render systems used on the cladding.

Roisin Mahoney, managing director of Vision, told us in March: “Many of the buildings are attached and each building facade is considered as a whole.

“Last December building surveyors carried out work to confirm the presence of expanded polystyrene, which is combustible.” The council said it had served the notice after several independent investigations found materials used in the external cladding no longer comply with building regulations and “could pose a risk in the event of a fire”.

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In November 2018, building regulations within the Housing Act 2004 were changed after the Grenfell Tower tragedy.

The council said the notice will order the buildings’ freeholder to commission a qualified chartered engineer to carry out repair works on the cladding, removing unsafe material and replacing it with compliant material.

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The notice gives around 12 months for work to be completed.

The council spokesperson said: “We understand why the residents of Axis are concerned and this improvement notice mean that the freeholder will need to take action to make the buildings safe.

“The council is committed to working closely with the freeholder, landlords and leaseholders to ensure these improvements are carried out quickly, safely and with as minimal disruption as possible.”

The council confirmed it is gathering data on all residential high rise buildings over 18m tall, excluding those owned by housing associations, to assess what insulation and cladding materials are present and whether they pose similar risks.

Vision did not respond to the Recorder’s request for comment this time and this paper was unable to reach LSREF3 Tiger Romford S.A R.L, who we understand is the owner, for a response.

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