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Post-Grenfell fund must tackle insulation issues

The Chancellor should ensure any government-backed fund to make all UK housing blocks safe following the Grenfell tragedy tackles the issue of rendered insulation as well as cladding.

That is according to David Westgate, group chief executive at Andrews Property Group.

Westgate said: “Based on our own recent experience, the cladding issues we are seeing around the UK could soon be surpassed by the problem of rendered insulation.

“We have just learned that a housing block in the South West has failed the necessary fire safety tests because of rendered insulation and are currently informing the residents.

“Clearly this will be a source of huge distress to leaseholders and a cause of many issues, specifically securing mortgage finance and selling their homes.

“ACM (aluminium composite material) cladding, understandably following the Grenfell tragedy, has received the most attention over the past two and a half years but there is growing evidence that the fire safety issues affecting housing blocks around the UK run far deeper.

“The proactive approach of the Association of Residential Managing Agents in highlighting the equal dangers of HPL (high pressure laminate) cladding is welcome but more and more evidence is emerging that cladding is just a part of the problem rather than the whole problem.

“If the new Chancellor of the Exchequer is considering establishing a government-backed fund to make every apartment and housing block in this country safe then the fund needs to take into account rendered insulation as much as cladding.”

The Grenfell Tower trajedy of 2017 claimed 72 deaths, while a further 74 were hospitalised.