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Carillion-built tower block residents face re-cladding bill

Residents living in a £35m housing development built by collapsed contractor Carillion have called on its developer to cover the costs of replacement cladding.

Leaseholders living in the NV Buildings in Salford Quays face huge costs to replace the combustible cladding on the 246-home development, and have urged the project’s original developer Countryside Properties to foot the bill.

NV Building resident Peter Brown said: “We have 246 leaseholders in the NV Buildings who through no fault of their own are stuck in the middle with no one taking responsibility.

“Developers have stepped up like Barratt Homes, Mace and Taylor Wimpey, who said it was morally [the] right thing to do, and not [simply something that] was legally required.

“The onus has to be on Countryside to take responsibility and do the morally right thing.”

In 2004, Carillion was contracted by Countryside to design and build the three-block development in Manchester’s Media City.

A Countryside spokesman said the NV Buildings had received all the relevant approvals when Carillion completed the project. 

He added: “Safety is our priority. Countryside takes very seriously the matter raised by residents at NV Buildings.

“We have launched an urgent investigation with the design team, requesting a comprehensive review of the building’s design and construction.

“This process is ongoing and we will keep residents informed on the outcome of the review.”

As part of inspections carried out following the Grenfell Tower fire, the NV Buildings were given a fire safety order by the Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service last September.

A subsequent fire risk assessment identified the cladding as a hazard, as it contained the combustible material Expanded Polystyrene (EPS).

Since then a 24/7 fire patrol, known as a waking watch, has been used at the building. NV residents are currently paying the development’s concierge to double up as waking watch.

However, residents have now said they want the cladding removed and have called on Countryside Properties to step in and pay the costs.

The calls follow a review by a structural engineer contracted by residents in June this year.

The engineer’s report concluded that the use of EPS and gaps in fire breaks on the building’s external walls meant the development may not have complied with Building Regulations when built.

Mr Brown said: “Our position to Countryside is that the fire service has said our cladding is a fire hazard, and our structural engineer has now said the building might not have been compliant with Building Regulations at the time.

“We are in positive dialogue with Countryside and they have promised to review further their documentation and come back to us, but as they said, a lot of that is with Carillion and that has now disappeared.”

Residents at the NV Buildings are under a tripartite leasehold agreement. This leaves residents not only liable for the re-cladding costs but also responsible for organising the re-cladding works.

The management of this work will be carried out through NV Buildings (Salford Quays) Management Limited, a company owned and run by the leaseholders.

Mr Brown, who is a nominee director of the residents managing company, said: “If Countryside doesn’t step in, the leaseholder management company will be left with the enormous challenge of specifying the remedial works, tendering, selecting and managing the works.

“At the moment this is costing us tens of thousands of pounds. It is manageable but it is picking up, and every time you talk to another consultant the invoices come through [and] that is more money.”

Following the Grenfell tragedy, the government has been compiling figures on the number of residential blocks that require re-cladding.

In total, 301 private blocks in the UK have been found to contain the combustible ACM-type cladding. To date, four developments have seen this cladding fully removed.

Only a handful of developers have decided to cover the costs of re-cladding on their developments in the wake of Grenfell.

Three weeks ago, Taylor Wimpey said it was setting aside £30m to cover the costs of re-cladding a number of its developments that contained ACM cladding.

In July the National House Building Council agreed to pay to re-clad the 1,000-home New Capital Quay development in Greenwich. The full bill has been estimated at £25m-£40m.

Due to the NV Buildings being completed in 2005, they are no longer under their 10-year warranty period, meaning residents are unable to pursue insurer NHBC for compensation. 

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