Flat owners told they face bill for replacing unsafe cladding

James Hockaday

Owners of apartments in a Slough tower block which failed a cladding safety test in June have been told they will have to pay for replacement costs expected to reach £1million.

Last week the freeholders of Nova House in Buckingham Gardens announced the building’s cladding would be replaced.

The news follows weeks of worry from tenants and landlords, who were told in June that the building’s cladding had failed a Government safety test in the wake of the Grenfell Tower tragedy.

In a letter sent to leaseholders by property managers Ringley on Friday, September 1, it was said cladding replacement costs are payable by leaseholders, in accordance with their lease terms.

The letter says that Nova House’s freeholder, Ground Rent Estates 5 Ltd, has received legal advice over insurance claims and was recommended collective action from all leaseholders.

It said there were delays in identifying the nature of the cladding because the material used on the building was different to the type specified by the developer, TPS Nova, and independent building control inspector Butler and Young.

It is still not known why the material, manufactured by Valcan and installed by Dales Services, was of a different type.

The main construction contractor when the building was built in 2015 was Timeless Property Services.

The letter says flat-owners received a BLP Building Warranty insurance policy when they bought their properties but that Ground Rent Estates 5 Ltd was not covered by such a policy.

Under trading name Gray’s Inn Estates, the freeholder said: “The BLP insurance policy covers bad workmanship.

“The legal advice that we have received is that an insurance claim would therefore not be impacted by the fact that the cladding installed is different to that which was specified.

“We are ourselves concerned about this matter and have asked questions of all parties involved in the development of Nova House for further information.”

Tenants were sent letters saying a surveyor will carry out an ‘in depth' and ‘intrusive’ compartmentation survey, testing the fire stopping integrity of the apartments and is due to start on Monday. The freeholder says there is no need for residents to leave while it takes place.

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