09:15AM, Friday 30 June 2017
Residents at a block of private apartments in Slough which needs to be tested for potentially dangerous cladding have been told they may have to pay for extra safety measures.
On Tuesday, an email was sent to flat owners at Nova House, in Buckingham Gardens, saying that the seven-storey building could have panels made from aluminium composite.
The site’s managing agents, Ringley Group, said the building’s materials had been prioritised for testing due to the ‘inherent risk of fire escalation’ if the cladding failed fire tests.
Ringley’s email stated: “The government has not set aside money to deal with replacement of materials that are found to be dangerous.
“Reserve funds will need to be assessed and potentially additional monies collected.
“Employing fire wardens 24/7 will increase service charge costs which likewise is funded by owners.”
Richard Venables, 53, who shares an apartment at Nova House, told the Express the email implied residents would have to pay to guarantee their safety.
He said: “Everyone is panicking and we’ve had families move out.
“If we are not willing to pay for it then are we going to have to carry on living in a potentially dangerous building?”
Nationwide tests are being carried out on high-rise blocks for combustible cladding like that used on Grenfell Tower.
Nova House, which has 68 apartments and is believed to house more than 200 people, opened to the public in 2015.
Ringley Group has also told its residents instead of testing a panel from the block itself, it would be sending off a spare panel from the developer.
Richard added: “Why should we trust the results from a spare panel? We want them to test a panel on the building.”
A spokeswoman for the Ringley Group told the Express the cladding used at the apartment block is not the same as that installed at Grenfell Tower but the company was giving it their ‘urgent attention’.
A statement said: “As a precautionary measure, we have arranged for a cladding panel from Nova House to be sent for testing at the Building Research Establishment.
“Nova House does have two fire exits, staff on site, a fire alarm and smoke detectors and a smoke ventilation system. We have also checked with the developer who has confirmed the building meets all building regulations and has been signed off.”
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