Picture Works, Nottingham Fire Safety Update

17 December 2021 update

There has been no further progress and updates are awaited from the managing agent.

30 September 2021 update

An appeal has been submitted to the Building Safety Fund to get funding approval for fire test rigs, to demonstrate that the proposed cladding make-up (where the timber insulation panels are retained) is acceptable.

30 June 2021 update

It has now been identified that there are timber insulation panels between the plasterboard and concrete boarding that the flats back onto.  This wasn’t previously included as part of the remediation project.  The appointed fire engineers have advised that if the timber panels are not removed, once the other works are completed, the building would achieve a B1 EWS1 rating.  A B1 rating means that although there are combustible materials in the external wall, the fire risk is sufficiently low and no remedial works are required.  

The managing agents have confirmed that to date, in their experience, valuers and lenders are satisfied with a B1 rating for lending purposes.  Removal of the timber insulation panels would involve a major change to the scope and size of the project and all flats would, on a phased basis, need to be vacated.  In addition, the Building Safety Fund would not cover the cost of replacement of the timber insulation panels.  The managing agents are appealing this decision with the Building Safety Fund whilst they work with their fire engineers, structural engineers and building insurers to assess the immediate and longer term suitability of leaving the timber insulation panels in situ. 

31 March 2021 update

The Building Safety Fund has approved the funding of the works required to the render at the building.  Project managers are now preparing to design the render solution.  It is anticipated that works may be complete by autumn.

18 December 2020 update

The warranty provider and their chartered engineers have assessed the surveyor’s report on the cladding and have advised that the render construction complied with the fire safety regulations that were in place at the time of construction and therefore the warranty won’t be liable to contribute to this element of the work. An application has been submitted to the Building Safety Fund in relation to the works required to the render at the building and this is still in the process of being assessed.

30 September 2020 update

The landlord has made an application to the Government’s Building Safety Fund in respect of the need for replacement of the render on the exterior of the building. A project manager has been appointed with a fire engineering company to specify the render remedial work required.

31 July 2020 update

As previously mentioned, the works are covered by the building warranty. The previously instructed project managers did not have adequate indemnity insurance and new project managers have now been instructed who are putting together their proposal to address the render system at the building.

30 March 2020 update

The project managers instructed by the managing agents have been found to have insufficient public indemnity cover. As previously mentioned, the works are covered by the building warranty but the warranty providers have confirmed they will not take responsibility for the work. The managing agents are therefore trying to engage with alternative surveyors.

6 January 2020 update

The managing agents have confirmed that the warranty claim has been accepted pending approval of the managing agents’ surveyors fees. Once this has been approved, the managing agents and the chartered engineers will be seeking quotes for the remediation works so that the final settlement figure may be finalised in advance of the works being undertaken.

7 October 2019 update

Over the last few weeks, chartered engineers have carried out further works to open up areas of cladding on the building to specify the correct design for the new façade support structure. As yet, the warranty providers have still not agreed liability to cover the cost of the work required to the cladding system and we continue to await a decision in this respect.

5 July 2019 update

At the time of our last update on 5 April 2019, we were awaiting the decision of the warranty provider as to whether they would accept the claim to cover the cost of the work required to the cladding system. The surveyor had discovered areas of the building with no fire breaks behind the cladding and where thermal insulation is not of the required thickness.

The warranty provider is still to determine whether this is a valid claim under the warranty or not, however, they are liaising with building control and fire specialists in order to design the solution to the cladding issues.

9 May 2019 update

The Government made an announcement earlier this morning confirming that a fund of £200 million will be made available to building owners who have not yet replaced unsafe ACM cladding on privately owned high rise blocks. This step has been taken as a result of private building owners having failed to take action to replace ACM cladding and their attempt to
offload any costs associated with cladding replacement to leaseholders.

You can read the press release on the Government website here.

The announcement contains few details and raises many questions. For example, a condition of funding would be that the building owner must have taken reasonable steps to recover the costs from those responsible for the presence of unsafe cladding. What would be considered as having taken reasonable steps? Who is responsible for the presence of unsafe cladding?
Building owners will have three months to access the fund, however, they will not be able to register for the fund until early July 2019. It is assumed that further details as to claiming eligibility for the fund will be released between now and July.

How does this announcement affect Picture Works, Nottingham?

As detailed in our updates, Picture Works is not fitted with ACM cladding but rather the manner in which the cladding has been installed is faulty and therefore a fire risk. It is therefore unclear as to whether the remedial works would qualify for the fund, however, as
per our recent update, a claim is being pursued against the Building Warranty provider and we await confirmation (anticipated within the next couple of months) as to the success of such claim.

5 April 2019 update: click here.

20 December 2018 update

At the time of our last report on 27 September 2018, the managing agent, Wildheart, had received a fee proposal from the building surveyor for the required works to replace the cladding. The surveyors have now finalised the detailed specification of works and, subsequent to approval from Wildheart and the freeholders, they will ask three contractors to provide quotes for the work between 14 January and 2 February 2019. Whilst we have not yet had sight of any quotes, we believe, as stated in our previous report, that the costs of these works will be substantial.

As per the Section 20 legislation, there will then be a 30 day consultation period to allow lessees to inspect the proposed works as outlined in the statement of estimates provided by the freeholder. Once the plans have been approved by the freeholder, the contractor will be instructed to start the works. We expect this instruction to be given by the end of March 2019, however, there could be a possible delay if the freeholder chooses to replace the cladding on the building with rendering. Although rendering is a cheaper alternative to cladding, it requires planning permission from the local planning authorities.

Running parallel to this, there is a potential claim to cover the cost of the work required to the cladding system under the building warranty. This is still being investigated, and we have not yet received any indication as to whether or not the claim will be successful.

27 September 2018 update

At the time of our last report on 31 July 2018, the managing agent, Wildheart, had issued a section 20 notice of intent which outlined the works to be carried out. They were in the process of planning and obtaining quotes for this work.

Wildheart have now received a fee proposal from the building surveyor and, subject to approval of the surveyor’s fees, there will be a four-week lead-in period to allow the detailed specification of works to be drawn up and a further three weeks to receive tenders back from the contractors. Whilst we have not yet had sight of any tenders, we believe, as stated in our previous report, that the costs of these works will be substantial.

Alongside this, the potential claim to cover the cost of the work required to the cladding system under the building warranty is still being investigated. We have been informed that this could take in excess of six months to reach a conclusion.

31 July 2018 update

As referred to in our previous note, a claim was lodged for each flat with CRL, who provided the building warranties for each of the flats. Unfortunately, the claim was rejected as the warranties were issued by CRL on the basis that the building had received buildings regulations sign off and a building regulations certificate had been issued.

The national debate as to whether the cost of replacement cladding works required at privately owned highrise buildings should be borne by leaseholders or freeholders, has not concluded.

We continue to work with the residents group at Premier House who have instructed a reputable firm of lawyers to advise on our best course of action.

At this point, a number of cases have been taken to court in relation to other high-rise buildings, in an attempt to determine who should bear the costs of replacing the cladding. The residents group has deemed it appropriate to wait until some of these cases have concluded to review the situation once the outcome is clear (bearing in mind that cases may go to appeal). This will take some time, however the cost involved in
taking our case to court would be much greater. To try and mitigate costs that have to be borne by the SPV, we agree that it is more prudent to await the outcome of other similar court cases.

In the meantime, the residents group has requested more detailed information and the specification of the proposed replacement cladding. This information is still awaited from the freeholder. We will continue to play an active role in the residents group to try to bring the matter to a satisfactory conclusion.

For the time being, both dividends and trading on the property will remain suspended.

28 June 2018 update: click here.