Bosses at a Shropshire-based global firm have welcomed a £5billion investment to replace unsafe cladding on homes across England.
Tim Sharman, technical sales director of Jesmonite based in Bishop’s Castle which exports their product across the world, said homeowners had worked desperately hard to see their views heard since the Grenfell Tower fire in 2017.
Mr Sharman said it should not have taken four years for the cladding removal programme and investment to be agreed but welcomed it and hoped work would commence immediately.
Jesmonite, which was founded in Bishop’s Castle in 1984, has become the go-to material for designers looking for an environmentally conscious alternative to traditional building materials or resin-based products.
Jesmonite AC730 is a water based, micro-concrete material. It is non-solvent, contains zero VOCs and achieves an A2-s1-d0 EN13501-1 Non-Combustible Fire Classification and has been used for cladding panels across the UK.
The company’s success has seen Jesmonite being used in Buckingham Palace, London Zoo, many projects abroad including the Far East and India and regeneration projects across the UK.
Mr Sharman said the Project Light, Canada Water multi-phased dockside regeneration scheme in Southwark was their largest Jesmonite cladding project to date and was a perfect example for the Government to follow and for homeowners to see to build their confidence that their homes could be safe again.
The site, between London Bridge and Canary Wharf, includes approximately 9000m2 of Jesmonite AC730 external cladding panels specified as a lightweight alternative to traditional heavyweight concrete cladding.
The award-winning technology behind Jesmonite AC730 allows manufacturers to create non-combustible large scale panels that offer major weight reductions whilst achieving high levels of impact resistance and flexibility.
Mr Sharman said: “We are delighted that at last the Government have announced this £5billion investment. Homeowners across the UK have been left in limbo since Grenfell and I don’t think anyone can understand the true worry they have endured.
“We have seen how flats have had security guards checking for any fire risks and that is no way for people to live.
“Our non-combustible cladding solution has been available for 20 years but still developments have been built with cladding which we now know is unsafe.
“We are looking forward to supporting the Government with the solutions they need to ensure people are safe in their homes.
“We urge homeowners to keep the pressure on for the works to be carried out immediately. The announcement of the investment is not enough – we need to see cladding being removed and replaced as soon as possible.”
Mr Sharman said the money was being invested in developments over 18-metres (6-storeys) high – however he said all buildings with unsafe cladding, regardless of the height, should be considered as part of the programme. The Government has offered a finance scheme for those in buildings between 11 and 18 metres high.
Home Office analysis of fire and rescue service statistics shows buildings between 18 and 30 metres are four times as likely to suffer a fire with fatalities or serious casualties than apartment buildings in general.Lower-rise buildings, with a lower risk to safety, will gain new protection from the costs of cladding removal with a generous
scheme offered to buildings between 11 and 18 metres. This will pay for cladding removal – where it is needed – through a long-term, low interest, government-backed financing arrangement.