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Hillman House Cladding statement

Published Tuesday, 26 September 2017

A leading Coventry Councillor has spoken out about his frustration in dealing with building control regulations.

Over recent months Coventry City Council has been trying to work with the developer of the former Allied Carpets building to ensure the safety of residents who live in Hillman House which sits directly above the building.

Councillor Jim O'Boyle, ward councillor and cabinet member for jobs and regeneration who has been talking to concerned residents following the tragedy at Grenfell Tower, said: "I'm flabbergasted at the lack of power we seem to have in ensuring the people that live in Hillman House feel safe.  The building directly below them is being clad yet there are no powers through the building control process to insist on a particular cladding in this instance.  And if the developer, as they have in that case, employed private building control we have no power again.

"It's seems completely ridiculous to me that there is no way for us insist that the developer uses top spec fire retardant materials. We've got them to move a bit on the side of the building that faces town. It will be a higher specification than the rest. 

“But on the other side because the tower block sits back from the front wall there is nothing we can do. I'm frustrated with the regulations which clearly don’t require a high enough standard of materials. I’m frustrated that the system allows approved inspectors which means that we can’t get involved.  And I'm frustrated with the developer. As far as I'm concerned, in the light of the disaster, and it was a disaster, in London I would have thought anyone with an ounce of compassion or conscience would have wanted to have gone above and beyond to ensure the safety of their building and in this case the building above them. 

“I will continue to work with residents. And to reassure them that to the letter of the current regulations the work does comply. But this won't stop us continuing to apply pressure at every opportunity to make sure all new developments in the city are the best quality we can achieve working with developers and the regulation. I will also be writing to the Minister responsible to explain why this isn’t good enough.”

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