Cladding works to Whitebeck Court have been completed

Cladding, housing, Manchester, Council

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The remediation work to replace the cladding system on the Council-owned Whitebeck Court in north Manchester is now finished.

The remediation work to replace the cladding system on the Council-owned Whitebeck Court in north Manchester is now finished.
The Council - along with its housing property management Northwards Housing - commissioned a full independent review of the cladding system when it was found that a small number of cladding panels did not match the specification on the building completion certification filed to the Council’s Building Control around nine years ago. 

As a precautionary measure, the original contractor Wates Living Space agreed - at its own expense - to remove all of the cladding and insulation panels from the property and replace it with a fully compliant system for the reassurance and safety of residents. 
During the works, the Council’s building control inspected the property at regular intervals to ensure compliance with current regulations. 

Whitebeck Court is an extra care accommodation of 91 flats for residents over the age of 55. Each resident was written to throughout the process and invited to drop in sessions in the ground floor café to update them on progress and make them aware of any works that might be disruptive. 

Although a number of cladding panels did not meet the specification expected on the property,  Northward’s independent fire expert, who worked closely with Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue (GMFRS), remained satisfied that the building remained safe for residents. This is because Whitebeck Court is already fitted with a full fire alarm system and sprinklers are fitted in all flats and communal areas. 

Whitebeck Court was the only Manchester City Council-owned building that required remediation works to ensure resident safety following the Grenfell Tragedy in 2017.

Manchester City Council has now been named - along with Wates Group - an Early Adopter organisation of the Hackitt Review for building safety. The review was commissioned following the Grenfell fire to act as guidance for behaviours around the management of high-rise properties to ensure fire and building safety.

The main aims of the scheme of early adopters is for members to:

  • Lead and drive forward
  • Hackitt recommendations to champion building safety and share best practice to encourage culture change across industry.
  • Implement changes across their organisations to ensure building safety is considered upfront so that buildings they are working on are safer for residents, prior to changes in regulations and legislation.
  • Support Government and play an active role in the development of building safety policy. 

Cllr Suzanne Richards, Manchester City Council’s executive member for housing and regeneration, said: “We know it will be some relief that residents in Whitebeck Court can say farewell to the contractors who have been working on their home for the past few months. 

“I would like to thank them for their patience while this work was completed and their understanding that it was vital that we completed this work for their reassurance and their safety. It would’ve been inconceivable that we wouldn’t act when it became apparent that a number of cladding tiles did not match building control records. 

“A thank you is also in order to Northwards for diligently guiding the project and ensuring that works were completed in a timely and to a high standard - particularly during lockdown conditions.”

Sue Abbott, Chair of the Northwards Board, said: “Here at Northwards, the safety of our customers has always been our top priority. We are delighted that this vital work is now complete and that residents can be confident their homes are as safe as they possibly can be.” 

Steve Jackson, Strategic Director for Wates Property Services, commented: “As soon as it became apparent that a small number of cladding panels did not meet the specification requirements, we responded immediately and worked in partnership with Northwards to develop and implement a full remedial strategy. Safety is the number one priority in all aspects of our work and we are now fully satisfied that the residents' homes meet with the high standards required.”

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