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Southwark Council create fire stopping proposal that appears to be based on guesswork

Ledbury Action Group have been asking Southwark Council for months to supply documents detailing the proposed permanent fire stopping solution for the four Ledbury Estate tower blocks that are plagued with gaps and cracks, which severely breach fire compartmentation.

Cost consultants hired by the council have already submitted projected costings for four different versions of a refurbishment project for the four towers, which all include the comprehensive structural strengthening solution, designed by ARUP engineers to bring the towers up the meet the building regulations. The projected costs range between £17 million and £30 million and purportedly all include costings for a permanent fire stopping solution.

Last week, Southwark Council’s head of engineering finally submitted his design for the permanent fire stopping solution, which transpired to be just a draft plan, awaiting further assessments and subject to change. What’s unclear is how Southwark Council were able to accurately come up with a fire stopping solution and cost it, when the scale of compartmentation breaches and level of works required have not yet even been measured.

This work would have been essential to have been able to come up with any type of genuine permanent fire stopping solution plan, and in order to prepare detailed information to share with the cost consultants, and most importantly, to ensure that further undiscovered fire safety breaches weren’t present in the various flats and endangering residents.

Southwark Council bosses were urged by Chartered Surveyor and fire safety expert Arnold Tarling to undertake more thorough assessments of flats last July after he discovered a catalogue of fire breaches that Southwark seemingly weren’t aware of, as detailed in this video.

Over the coming weeks, a new team of Options Appraisals Consultants hired by Southwark, will begin their work assessing the viability of the proposed refurbishment options vs demolition.

At this stage, we are unclear as to how the situation has progressed so far without Southwark Council having ever recorded what work actually needs doing. We have approached Southwark Council for comment on these issues and their reply was: 'Tony (Hunter - Head of Engineering) has advised that it is his intention that once a decision has been made on refurbishing the blocks , at that stage further Type 4 assessments will (be) carried out to ensure that all issues raised are captured and included in the specification for refurbishing the buildings.'

The proposed permanent fire stopping draft is below.

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