Belfast Telegraph

High-rise owners in Northern Ireland not legally obligated to carry out cladding test

By Brett Campbell

The Government has warned the owners of private residential high-rise buildings in Northern Ireland that they have a responsibility to carry out tests on cladding in the aftermath of the Grenfell Tower tragedy.

However, there is no legal compulsion for them to co-operate.

Landlords, owners and managers of residential blocks will receive financial help in determining whether aluminium composite material (ACM) is present on their buildings following the London tragedy three weeks ago.

As part of the UK-wide response to the harrowing disaster, which unfolded in a 24-storey Kensington tower block, the Executive Office has provided details of testing arrangements.

"Where ACM has been used on residential blocks that are higher than six-storeys or 18m, those responsible for the buildings can avail of the testing arrangements put in place nationally," it said.

"If ACM cladding is identified, testing of sample material can be carried out at the Building Research Establishment and costs will be met by the Government."

It also made clear that the Government would not be footing the bill for any necessary work based on test results, which it said "will be the responsibility of the owner of the building".

Meanwhile, police investigating the devastating blaze have said the "last of the visible human remains" have been recovered from Grenfell.

Metropolitan Police commander Stuart Cundy said "87 recoveries" had been made in the three weeks since fire ripped through the high-rise block, but stressed the catastrophic damage inside meant "that it is not 87 people".

Some 21 bodies have been formally identified by the coroner and their families have been informed.

Specialist officers have begun "meticulously" sifting through tonnes of debris on each floor by hand for any human remains.

Mr Cundy said: "Tragically, there are still 23 flats where despite our investigative efforts we have been unable to trace or speak to anyone who was in those properties on the night.

"We assume that, sadly, no one from any of those flats survived."

He was unable to say "with any certainty" how many people may have been in those flats, either as occupiers or visitors, until the search was complete.

Belfast Telegraph

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