Following local rumours concerning the cladding on the huge Unite student building on Wembley's Olympic Way, Unite have issued the following statement to Wembley Matters:
In August last year, in the wake of the Grenfell fire, the Kilburn Times LINK reported a Brent Council letter to councillors in which they said that wall system of the building in BRE tests was shown as inadequate to resist the spread of fire.In line with the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government’s (MHCLG) high-rise building cladding testing regime conducted with the Building Research Establishment (BRE), Unite Students has been working closely with independent fire safety and engineering experts to ensure our buildings are as safe as possible for our students and employees.Following extensive investigations by these experts, we have taken the decision to replace the exterior cladding on our Olympic Way property in Wembley, London. The building will be closed over the summer holidays while this work takes place, limiting the impact on our students, and the building will reopen in time for the start of the 2018/19 academic year.Given the numerous fire safety systems and comprehensive fire strategy we have in place for this building, as with all of our properties nationwide, independent fire safety experts have confirmed that Olympic Way continues to be safe for occupation until the works are complete.The safety of our students and our properties is of the utmost importance to us and we take our responsibilities very seriously. We have closely followed MHCLG advice, and believe replacing the cladding on Olympic Way is the most responsible thing to do for our customers in the long term.
Unite say that they have moved many of their summer bookings to other properties and have been working closely with their university partners on the issue. They were unable to comment on who would be responsible for paying for the cladding removal. In July last year Unite said the cost of replacing cladding on six of its building could be £2m plus up to £1.5m in lost revenue. LINK
The 475 bed building cost £47m in a venture funded by the London Student Accommodation Vehicle, 50% owned by Unite and 50% by the Government of Singapore Investment Corporation.
A spokesperson for Middlesex University, whose students use the accommodation, echoed Unite's statement and said, “The safety of our students is of the utmost importance to us and we take our responsibilities very seriously. We are fully supportive of Unite Students’ decision to replace the cladding on Olympic Way.”
Elsewhere on the Wembley regeneration site Forum House is having cladding replaced LINK. It is clearly a matter of concern that at least two buildings in the extensive new build have issues over cladding.