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8th November 2023

Company Fined After Residents Put At Risk During Removal Of Dangerous Cladding

UK Fire Truck

What’s Happened?

A cladding company has recently been fined £240,000 after inspectors from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found highly combustible cladding lying on residents’ balconies at a Liverpool apartment block, posing a serious fire risk.

The aluminium composite panels and combustible cladding were understood to have been similar to that used in Grenfell Tower when the 2017 tragedy occurred.

When an inspector from the HSE visited the site, the inspector discovered that in preparation for the removal work, combustible material had been left exposed.

The situation worsened when the inspector returned to the site a few days later where she found further combustible material having been exposed with no protection from potential sources of ignition. Additionally, combustible cladding material was also found lying on residents’ balconies. As the building remained occupied during the works, the inspector alerted Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service who based on the significant fire risks decided to take their own enforcement action.

In Court

The HSE investigation determined that the cladding removal company had failed to take appropriate precautions to address the risk of fire and to ensure the safety of residents, workers, and others.  It had also failed to take account of published guidance on the safe removal of cladding.

The company attended Liverpool Magistrates Court where they pleaded guilty to breaches of The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015. The company was fined £240,000 and ordered to pay costs of £5,405.

After the hearing HSE inspector involved in the case said: “The disturbing irony of this case is that work to protect residents from fire risk ended up making the situation more dangerous.

“This prosecution highlights the need for responsible management of the removal of cladding. The potentially tragic consequences of fire involving this type of material are well-known following the Grenfell Tower fire.

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