Claimed to be fire resistant but structures 'built to poor standard'

26 September 2018

A local authority will debate a report tomorrow night (27 September 2018) that recommends that two residential tower blocks in Rugby be demolished and replaced.

Tenants were evacuated from the high rises earlier this year after a survey questioned the fire resistance of the 50-year old structures.

Costings found that the tower blocks are beyond economic repair, with refurbishment estimated at £20million compared to replacement housing costing £23million.

More than 150 residents of 91 occupied flats at Biart Place were told to leave.

The council-commissioned survey in 2016 of the condition of 124 flats at the site highlighted concerns over fire resistance, concrete quality and corroding steel.

It found the flats had "been built to a poor standard and may not perform as expected in the event of a fire or explosion", although the council said fire resistance still met British safety standards.

The report to be considered by councillors on 27 September recommends that work starts on appointing architects to design a replacement development that will make best use of the site.

A previous report to councillors in April 2018 explained that surveys carried out to understand future maintenance needs showed that the blocks are constructed from the large panel system and are of poor build quality. It explained that the concrete is poor quality and suffering from carbonation, while steelwork is corroding. Connections are incomplete and strengthening steel work is missing from some areas. 

Other blocks at Rounds Gardens, were found to be better construction than those at Biart Place but Warwickshire Fire and Rescue have recommended that additional fire alarm systems be fitted.

There has been a more scrutiny of large panel tower blocks following the Grenfell Tower disaster.

Original sources
Rugby Borough Council
BBC News