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Elephant & Castle aluminium cladding: 'no room for complacency'

The developer of a recently completed set of tall buildings covered in aluminium cladding panels at Elephant & Castle says the scheme has met all building control and fire safety requirements but there is "no room for complacency".

Elephant & Castle aluminium cladding: 'no room for complacency'
Porchester House - a student accommodation block on New Kent Road
Elephant & Castle aluminium cladding: 'no room for complacency'

The 'phase 1' development at the corner of New Kent Road and Elephant Road (formerly known by a range of names including Elephant One, Tribeca Square, Oakmayne Plaza) includes tall buildings of student accommodation and yet-to-be-occupied private rented sector flats.

The development is co-owned by the Qatari Diar Real Estate Investment Company, Delancey's client fund DV4 and the Dutch pension fund asset manager APG.

Planning documents submitted to Southwark Council show that polyester powder-coated (PPC) aluminium panels were specified for some of the facades of the buildings.

Staff at the Sainsbury's store on the ground floor of the development are among those to have raised questions about the materials used in the buildings.

We asked Delancey what assessment it had made of the fire safety of the chosen cladding, and whether the cladding was made of aluminium composite material (ACM) which has come under public scrutiny since the Grenfell Tower blaze.

"Specifically at Elephant & Castle, our phase 1 development has just been completed with building control approval received, fire risk assessments undertaken, and with the local fire brigade having inspected the accommodation occupied to date," a Delancey spokeswoman told the SE1 website.

"We can confirm the buildings have a different construction, design and cladding system to that at Grenfell Tower. The cladding panel is a single sheet of aluminium with no core and there is one other tower with pre-cast concrete cladding."

Delancey says that fire safety measures at the development include a monitored alarm system and sprinklers, with each floor compartmentalised for two hours of fire resistance.

The spokeswoman added: "As recent tragic events have shown, there is no room for complacency and, irrespective of any request or enquiry received, we are further reviewing the fire protection, the cladding specifications and safety measures of our client's assets."

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