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Unite Could Face a £3.5m Cladding Bill

Posted by Richard Ward in

Image courtesy of Flickr, Creative Commons

Unite could be facing a bill of up to £3.5 million to replace cladding on some of its buildings following the Grenfell Tower tragedy.

The firm said six of its buildings had failed cladding tests carried out by the Building Research Establishment (BRE) on behalf of the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG).

Unite suggested the sites were safe, following a separate inspection by local fire and rescue authorities, but a second review by DCLG may still insist the cladding must be removed.

If Unite has to remove the cladding, its available beds for the 2017-18 academic year could drop by 600 while the remedial work takes place.

The work has the potential to cost up to £2 million, with a further £1.5 million associated with lost revenue.

According to chief executive Richard Smith, the company wants to be as transparent about the potential impact, and costs were likely to be below the top estimates.

Mr Smith said: "We have estimated that we will have to replace the cladding and the cladding fixing systems. A couple of these buildings are relatively new, so I think we could do it much more cheaply than that."

"What's more, on four of the six buildings there is only a small proportion of ACM cladding."

The six buildings being tested include the Sky Plaza and Concept Plaza in Leeds; Greetham Street in Portsmouth; Olympic Way and St Pancras Way in London and Waverley House in Bristol.

The findings of the second phase of DCLG tests are expected soon, with any financial implications likely to be reported in the company's 2017 and 2018 results.