The National Audit Office (NAO) has today released a report stating that there are still 18 high-rise purpose-built student accommodation buildings with unsafe ACM cladding in England. Remediation work has not even begun on six of these.
Speaking for NUS, Eden Ladley called on the UK Government to act now to ensure the safety of all student accommodation:
“It has been more than three years since the devastating fire at Grenfell Tower and it is shameful that thousands of people across the country still sleep in buildings that are objectively unsafe. NUS again calls on the Government to act now to ensure that hundreds of students are not set to move into unsafe accommodation again in the 2020/21 academic year.
“The major fire at The Cube in Bolton in November 2019 showed student accommodation is vulnerable. While thankfully it did not result in any fatalities or serious injuries we must learn the lessons of that incident to prevent a worse tragedy in future. The Government must publish their final report into that fire as soon as possible.”
The NAO has today (19 June) published its investigation into remediating dangerous cladding on high-rise buildings
. It has found that, as 30 April 2020, there are still 18 purpose-built student accommodation buildings over 18m in height with unsafe ACM cladding in England. Remediation work has not begun on six of these.
There are likely still numerous student accommodation buildings with other forms unsafe cladding, such as High Pressure Laminate (HPL). In addition, it is unknown how many student accommodation buildings there are which fall below the current 18m ‘high-rise’ regulations which have various forms of unsafe cladding. Inside Housing have more details on the scale of the issue
The government is yet to publish the final investigative report into the fire at The Cube student accommodation building in Bolton. The fire took place in November 2019. As the ONS identifies in their report, The Cube “was not included within the Programme’s monthly count of buildings to be remediated. It was narrowly below the 18-metre threshold and featured a different form of combustible cladding (high pressure laminate, or HPL).”
On the 22 May 2020, in response to a parliamentary question about the report into The Cube fire, the Minister for Housing Christopher Pincher responded:
“We expect the final report on the Bolton Cube fire from Building Research Establishment imminently. We have shared the interim report with BRAC, the Expert Panel and Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service. It is important that we understand all the facts around the incident and we must look to the final report to understand the complete picture. We will review the full findings with the Expert Panel and act where necessary to ensure the advice to building owners is up to date.”
NUS wrote to the government
alongside the FBU, NEU and UCU in November 2019 urging them to remove all flammable cladding from all educational buildings regardless of height.