Other large panel estates being found to also be at risk
Following the discoveries by structural engineer firm ARUP during August 2017 that the four Ledbury Estate tower blocks do not meet the building regulations for being strong enough to withstand the force of a gas explosion, fire or extremely strong winds, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government wrote to other local authorities around the UK who own similar buildings asking them to carry out checks to ensure their buildings were not at risk.
The findings of some of those tests are now coming to light, revealing that other large panel system blocks are also at risk of progressive collapse in the event of an explosion or if there were a fire or strong winds, as Inside Housing reports in this article.
Following the Ronan Point tower block collapse in 1968 the Government set out new guidelines for the forces that large panel blocks should be able to withstand, if buildings did not meet these standards they should have undergone a strengthening programme decades ago to ensure that they were brought up to meet the new regulations. At Ledbury it was discovered that this strengthening work was never carried out. Up until now, Ledbury was considered to be a one-off isolated case which somehow slip through the net, however the results of tests on other similar blocks are now revealing a worrying pattern, and further unstrengthened buildings are being discovered.
The Ledbury Action Group have been campaigning on and following these issues for some time and will be publishing the finding of tests carried out on other large panel system estates once the documents are released by the local authorities involved.