Belfast Telegraph

Grenfell fire: Cladding used in Northern Ireland flats not same as London tower, says Housing Executive

By Sue Doherty

The cladding used in the refurbishment of four tower blocks in Northern Ireland is different from the cladding used on Grenfell Tower, the Housing Executive has confirmed.

Residents of the ill-fated tower in West London have expresssed concerns that the cladding may have accelerated the fire that ripped through Grenfell Tower last Wednesday. The number of people confirmed dead in the tragedy is 79 and it is feared that that number will rise.

Those concerns were echoed by residents of tower blocks in Northern Ireland and also voiced by their public representatives.

London fire: Housing boss uncertain if Northern Ireland tower blocks use similar cladding as Grenfell

In response, the Northern Ireland Housing Executive issued a statement on Monday morning confirming that the cladding used here is different.

“We can categorically state that that the two cladding systems in use in our tower blocks are not the same as that used in the Grenfell tower block in London," the statement reads.

"We know this as we have received correspondence from Department for Communities and Local Government in London (via the Department of Communities) today (Monday).”

NIHE, which manages a total of 32 blocks housing around 3,000 people, gave further details in relation to the four tower blocks in which cladding has been or is being used.

Cladding has been completed at Eithne House and Cuchulainn House in the New Lodge area. The cladding there is "a rainscreen system made up of PvC panels and rails with a Rockwool insulated core".

The same type of cladding is currently being used at Whincroft House in east Belfast. This cladding system, the Housing Executive said, "was tested by the Building Research Establishment to BR135".

The fourth high rise building, Carnet House in east Belfast, is "a design and build scheme using a Sto external wall insulation scheme which has been tested to BS8414". This system "consists of 120 mms of polysterene insulation covered with a 9mm reinforced plaster render. In this system the cladding is bonded to the insulation and directly bonded to the wall," the statement said.

The cladding works at the four buildings have been undertaken as part of an overall refurbishment including roof repairs and replacements, repairs to the concrete structures, new windows and improvements to balconies.

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