Work to install compliant facades at Gerrard House and Hatfield Close in Lewisham provides a valuable lesson in post-Grenfell constructive partnerships and community engagement
In 2017, following the post-Grenfell Tower update to building regulations, all Lewisham Council’s residential high-rise blocks were tested for fire safety.
Three blocks that make up Lewisham Homes' Gerrard House and Hatfield Close were identified as needing to be reclad.
Later that year main contractors United Living, specialist housing consultancy Michael Dyson Associates and consultants 4i Solutions began work to remove the existing cladding.
With residents in situ throughout, it was important that partnerships were formed with local resident association groups, who were consulted on all decisions throughout construction.
Once the final panel was removed in December 2017, work began to install A1 fire-rated Argeton terracotta cladding, supplied by Taylor Maxwell and installed by Novo Facades.
The project gave opportunities for consultation and feedback from the residents of the blocks, with two resident liaison officers on site providing an easily accessible point of contact 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The replacement cladding met all of the safety regulations: in the opinion of the BBA, the Argeton terracotta cladding system - if installed, used and maintained in accordance with certificate number 08/4516 - can satisfy, or contribute to satisfying, the relevant requirements of The Building Regulations 2010 (England and Wales).
The tiles, support rails, clamps and clips are classified as non-combustible in accordance with national building regulations.
During the installation, the London Fire Brigade made frequent visits to the buildings to see how a fire safety compliant cladding system should be installed and better understand the build-up of the product. A sample of the terracotta cladding has now been installed at their training base.
Throughout the reclad project, the Housing Associations’ Charitable Trust provided around £1.5 million in contributions to events and people in the local area. A dedicated social value officer was appointed to the site to ensure that the funding reflected the needs of the residents.
Projects selected included CV workshops, a women-in-construction workshop and the restoration of an overgrown community garden. Lewisham Homes also offered financial assistance to residents faced with higher energy bills while the buildings were unclad.
The project has recently been shortlisted for the National Building and Construction Awards, in the ‘Best Community Engagement’ and ‘Project of the Year £10 million to £25 million’ categories.
The shortlisting of the project in these categories is a testament to the collaborative ethos that was embodied by all the supply chain partners throughout the process.
Find more on this project at taylormaxwell.co.uk/projects/gerrard-house
For more information and technical support, visit taylormaxwell.co.uk
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