Collaboration key to success for fire safety remediation project

Fire safety remediation in the external envelope of buildings continues to be a key issue affecting the housing sector. As industry adapts to new regulatory realities post-Grenfell, the need to bring existing multi-occupancy housing stock into compliance remains urgently pressing. We spoke to Richard Izzard from aluminium decking manufacturer AliDeck to learn about a recent major remediation project in Southwark for Wandle Housing Association.

The EWS1 crisis has caused untold pain for all stakeholders since very shortly after its launch in December 2019. The Government issued the Consolidated Advice Note just one month later which required multi-occupancy buildings of all heights to be considered for fire-safety requirements. This caused a huge influx of additional buildings to be brought into scope, derailing EWS1 immediately and trapping homeowners in unmortgageable properties.

We were very pleased, then, to hear about the excellent progress that has been made on a major remediation project in Southwark for Wandle Housing Association and Breyer Group.

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Before (above right image): Timber decking posed a major risk.
After (above left image): AliDeck’s aluminium decking boards installed on the Southwark remeditation project

Comprising several four-storey blocks, fire safety issues were identified in the external envelope of the buildings as part of EWS1 inspections. Specifically, the timber decking present in large quantities across the balconies, roof terraces and common walkways posed a major risk, preventing a compliant EWS1 certificate being issued.

“We became involved in this project quite early in the process,” said Richard Izzard, AliDeck managing director. “We made several site visits to fully investigate the building so we could understand the material requirement. This allowed us to provide a detailed breakdown of the most suitable decking system for each distinct area of the remediation works.”

The decking replacement works were to be completed by Alu-Installations, an AliDeck Approved Installer. Alu-Installations were one of the first companies to complete AliDeck’s Training Academy several years ago and have completed many decking system installations since, so a real depth of understanding was immediately available to the project.

“We set up our Training Academy to help make sure that there were competent, reliable installation professionals available to work with our customers,” explained Richard. “We now have a network of Approved Installers all around the UK that are experts on our range of systems. Alu-Installations are a great example, they are professional and highly skilled.”

fire safety

Above: Large, curved raised flowerbeds were a key feature of the roof terrace project.

A key feature to the roof terrace area was the large, raised flowerbeds. With a curved, semi-circular frontage they posed a real challenge in terms of finishing. While it was a simple decision to use aluminium decking boards vertically to directly replace the existing timber decking on these frontages, leaving the aluminium cut edges exposed was an unacceptable injury risk.

Alu-Installations proposed and designed a bespoke trim solution to overcome this challenge. Colour-matched right-angle trims were rolled to achieve the curvature and provided a safe, seamless finish to the feature flowerbeds.

Work was required to pause briefly due to defects being found in the waterproofing when the timber deck was removed. Whilst this break in proceedings was unfortunate, it ultimately proved no major impediment as the operations-focused approach to the supply of the project by AliDeck was suitably robust to cope with such hiccups.

“We invested a great deal of energy in planning for this project,” said Richard. “With more than 15 tonnes of decking boards alone due to the site, it was imperative that our logistics were really buttoned down to keep everything in check. The result was a smooth supply over multiple call-offs and a job well done.”

AliDeck have developed a track record for excellence and it’s clear that this is rooted in their collaborative and careful mindset. The perfect outcome at this project is validation of this philosophy, certainly, and we hope to see more manufacturers begin to emulate AliDeck’s approach.

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