Ledbury Action Group have managed to locate the original construction drawings for the ‘Morris Walk Series’ contract, which show how Ledbury Estate large panel system tower blocks were constructed. These drawings were used during the construction of all of the Morris Walk series tower blocks.
Southwark Council and ARUP both apparently undertook extensive searches of their records, as well as archive documents, but were unable to find these vital original drawings, which led to intrusive works being carried out at the Ledbury towers, in part, to gain an understanding of how the joints were formed and panels assembled.
On 8th March, Ledbury Action Group gained possession of the drawings and it became immediately apparent that ARUP may have made significant errors in their comprehensive report of the Ledbury blocks, despite their intrusive investigations.
This comes after ignored warnings from the former RIBA architect and Ronan Point expert Sam Webb, whom attempted to inform ARUP and Southwark on these matters after reading the ARUP report published in November 2017
In an email to Southwark Council staff on 5th February 2018, Sam Webb is quoted:
'Arup are wrong in their assumption that the non-loadbearing window panels rest one on top of the other. They don’t. They rest on large nibs on the end of the crosswalls below the windows. (20 Nov 2017 report page 5 where they are referred to as External Wall Panels).'
See relevant section of the ARUP report below
Now that the original drawings have been seen, Sam Webb would appear to have been proven correct.
The external walls do indeed rest on large nibs or ‘supporting ears’ as they are called, in the original drawings.
This may have implications on the design of ARUPs strengthening project and, as such, has been immediately forwarded to Southwark council to look into.
Sam Webb commented: ‘Arup also state in their report that the 6 bolts which hold the wall panels of the stair tower together are original. They are not. They were part of the recommendations I made with the engineer to Greenwich in 1985. They were then put in all the blocks because it was recognised in certain wind conditions, the central stair tower could collapse.’
Back in July 2017, Sam Webb and other independent experts raised concerns over the gas supply in the Ledbury tower blocks, which ARUP and Southwark originally denied as being an issue that applied to the Ledbury towers, as seen in the following video here. (Scroll to 3:20mins)
One month later on 10th August 2017, Southwark Council switched the gas off.
Some residents have concerns over the risk of errors being made during the investigations into Ledbury.
One resident said: ‘how could this information be there, readily available to regular people, yet a huge firm like ARUP and Southwark council, one of the biggest social landlords, not be able to find them?
How can residents like myself have confidence in these so-called professionals when they are being proven wrong time and time again?’.
ARUP responsed to these points saying:
‘There were two types of Taylor Woodrow Anglian (TWA) Large Panel System buildings. Morris Walk is a ‘Type A’ building and Ledbury is ‘Type B’. Although architecturally they look the same, there are engineering differences. For this reason we have not relied on the Morris Walk drawings. Our investigations suggest Ledbury does not have nibs; in any event, the presence of nibs would not change our recommendations.
We had no reason to believe that the stair tower bolts were not original, as we have found no record of any remedial works. The question of whether or not the bolts are original does not alter our recommendations.’