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Lambeth Council in London has served an improvement notice on a converted office block that has been turned into flats.
Officers served the notice on the owners of Norwich House
Apartments, listing several remedial actions required, including the removal of
aluminium composite material (ACM) cladding of the type used at Grenfell Tower.
- Climb down on space standards for permitted development homes
- Quality alarm bells over permitted development plans
The block, on Streatham High Road, houses 103 flats over six
storeys, with commercial units on the ground floor. Its conversion from an
office block was enabled by “permitted development rights”, which Lambeth
Council has previously been critical of.
A council inspection in August identified “serious and
significant fire safety deficiencies”, including the presence of ACM cladding
shown to be the highest risk (category 3). Inspectors also reported issues with
the building’s fire safety systems, service cupboards being used to store
combustible materials, an insufficiently protected seventh-storey boiler room
and a malfunctioning smoke extraction system.
The Norwich House owners and their management company were
alerted to the problems, and ordered to make improvements related to the CCTV
system, smoke alarms and smoke extraction, and their evacuation strategy.
The council has now served an improvement notice on the
owners of Norwich House, following consultation with the London Fire Brigade,
setting out the action needed to make the building safe. The owners will need
to remove the ACM cladding within a year, but the other works will be required
within four months.
The owners have appointed a firm of fire engineers, have
repaired the smoke extraction system and are working on the CCTV and fire
alarms. They have also informed the council that they plan to remove the
cladding with financial help from the Government’s ACM remediation fund.
Councillor Jennifer Brathwaite, deputy leader of the Council (Housing and Homelessness), said: “Lambeth Council has a responsibility to ensure all tower blocks in our borough – council-owned and privately-owned – meet the highest safety standards.
“The need to protect residents in all our tower blocks has
been even more acute since the Grenfell Tower tragedy in 2017, and we have
worked hard to deal with the risks posed by ACM since then.
“Where we find there is work needed to ensure the safety of
residents, we will take whatever action is necessary. We’ve told the owners of
this building what work is required, and we’re committed to working closely
with them to ensure these improvements are carried out quickly, safely, and
with minimal disruption to residents.”