Belfast high-rise could have Grenfell-type cladding

Durham House in Belfast may have the same outside combustible cladding as London's Grenfell Tower.  Photo: David Young/PA Wire
Durham House in Belfast may have the same outside combustible cladding as London's Grenfell Tower. Photo: David Young/PA Wire

A high rise building block in Belfast may have the same outside combustible cladding as London’s Grenfell Tower.

Tests are being carried out on the cladding at Durham House, in the city centre, to see if it is a fire risk.

Following the Grenfell disaster, it is understood a review of 33 Housing Executive high rise buildings and 19 owned by housing associations, was carried out.

One of those buildings, Durham House – which is made up of one and two bedroom flats – has been found to have similar cladding to that on Grenfell Tower. Tests on the cladding will determine if it is a security risk.

Radius Housing Association, which owns Durham House said the safety and well being of their residents “is of paramount importance”.

A spokesman added: “Like many organisations across the UK, Radius has carried out additional fire inspections across properties in recent weeks. Cladding panels from Durham House have been sent for precautionary tests to BRE Group and Ulster University. The purpose of these tests is to determine the type of material used in the cladding and whether it is flammable.

“If the panels pose a potential risk then we will act accordingly. We have liaised with residents at Durham House and will work to ensure they continue to feel safe and comfortable in their homes. There will now be an additional 24 hour presence on site to provide safety monitoring.

“The building is compliant with current fire regulations and is subject to regular fire risk assessments.”

Police in London have said that the Grenfell fire started in a fridge freezer, and outside cladding and insulation failed safety tests.

Preliminary tests on the samples of insulation showed it burned soon after the test started, and more quickly than the cladding tiles. But they both failed the police’s safety tests, which are similar to those being carried out by the UK government.

Meanwhile, it has been revealed that proceeds from this summer’s Community Shield match at Wembley will be donated to those affected by the Grenfell Tower fire.

The Football Association says it is hoped that the match – between Arsenal and Chelsea on August 6 – will raise around £1.25million for the victims of the tragedy and their families.

FA chairman Greg Clarke said: “Whilst only a football match, we hope that in some small way through the Community Shield we can help. Football is for all, and we hope that on August 6 it can in its own way give something back to those who are most in need.”