On 5 September 2017 Tamara Finkelstein, Director General for the Building Safety Programme and Department of Communities and Local Government, wrote to all local authorities. This was after 3cm-wide cracks between concrete panels were identified in large panel system (LPS) buildings on the Ledbury estate in Peckham, south-east London.
Finkelstein told local authorities:
“It is important with all large panel system buildings that their structural history is known, and that their condition and continued structural integrity are understood and monitored. This should include desktop studies where necessary to establish what strengthening work has been undertaken, and to assess the original design of the building. In undertaking desktop studies, building owners may not be able to rely solely on their own records. They may also need to explore records prior to them taking ownership of the building and explore the accuracy of them. Depending on the records available and findings from non-intrusive investigations, building owners may wish to commission more intrusive forms of investigation to check condition and strength of critical connections.”
So how come Peter Apps and Robert Booth at the Guardian report today:
“Bristol city council said there was no record of any structural surveys of Barton House after remedial works were carried out around 1970.”
Why did the Rees administration disregard government advice for six years and allow one of their buildings to deteriorate to the point where its 400 residents need to be evacuated at a few hours notice and made homeless?
This was avoidable and heads need to roll.