Lincoln hotels, flats and university buildings under review after Grenfell Tower blaze

Developers, local councils and educational organisations are carrying out reviews of fire safety at multi-storey Lincoln buildings following the Grenfell Tower fire, which claimed at least 79 lives.

A number of buildings in the city are cladded in aluminium panels, which are being assessed as part of individual fire safety plans.

No companies or organisations contacted by The Lincolnite had, at the time of writing, found any buildings that had failed fire safety tests.

Police have confirmed that the fire at the London tower block on June 14 had started in a Hotpoint fridge freezer (now recalled), and outside cladding and insulation had contributed to the spread of the blaze.

Cladding is being tested at around 600 tower blocks across the country in response to the fatal fire. Cladding on 60 high-rise buildings in 25 areas has failed tests (100% of those tested).

Experts have described a ‘chimney effect’ in the exterior cladding, which saw the fire drawn up through a cavity between the interior of the building and the exterior cladding.

Photo: Lincolnshire Fire & Rescue

The City of Lincoln Council has three tower blocks in the city. Only one, Shuttleworth House, has external insulation cladding.

The council has confirmed that cladding used at Shuttleworth House is fire resistant, using a British Standard fire-resistant Rockwool system, different to that used at Grenfell Tower.

Bob Ledger, strategic director for housing at City of Lincoln Council, said: “Our tower blocks have provided a safe environment for tenants for 50 years but there is no room for complacency when it comes to fire safety.

“We would like to reassure tenants that all our fire safety checks are up-to-date and we meet with the fire service regularly to review safety in all our communal housing.”

Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue crews have been visiting high-rise properties in the area in order to continue training and ensure the safety of residents.

University reviewing buildings

The University of Lincoln Brayford Campus. Photo: Google Earth

The University of Lincoln told The Lincolnite it is undertaking a review of all of its buildings as a precaution. The university did confirm that it manages one high-rise building (above five storeys), and this doesn’t use the same type of cladding concerned in the Grenfell Tower fire.

A University of Lincoln spokesperson said: “The University of Lincoln is a modern campus with buildings constructed to high standards, and we do fire safety checks as a matter of course.

“Following the tragic events in London, we are proactively undertaking a review of all our buildings with cladding, and our fire safety plans and policies to provide assurances to staff and students.”

Lincoln College Group also carried out an audit of its estate. Head of Marketing and Communications James Newall said: “We carried out a full audit of our estate after the Grenfell Tower fire and we have no materials of this nature on any of our buildings.”

Modern living assurances

One the Brayford has been designed with fire resistant aluminium cladding. Photo: Sarah Barker for The Lincolnite

Aluminium cladding has been used on a number of new multi-storey accommodation developments in the city, including student flats and private apartments.

Developers behind projects like One the Brayford told The Lincolnite designs meet fire safety standards and all cladding is flame resistant.

Ben Martin, Project Manager at Jackson and Jackson Developments, which holds a portfolio of large Lincoln properties including The Gateway student accommodation and the ongoing One the Brayford, said: “One the Brayford is currently under construction and at the start of the year the project had a full design review of the aluminium cladding.

“The building was originally designed with wood composite panels. It now has aluminium cladding with non-flammable insulation material. This was all recommended through the warranty provider as part of building specifications and we recently had a fire report conducted.

“The building, alongside other multi-storey buildings on our portfolio, has fire stops on each floor behind the cavity to prevent any fire spreading upwards. There are also fire doors, extinguisher systems in each apartment.”

Note: In an earlier version of this story The Lincolnite was told by Ben Martin sprinkler systems would be installed in the One the Brayford development. Reporters were later told this was incorrect.

Hotel safety

Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Concerns were raised over the safety of some hotels in the country after the hotel group which runs Premier Inn said last week that at least three of its hotels had cladding similar to Grenfell Tower, but that all were safe to stay open.

The chain did not raise concerns for any hotels in Lincolnshire. A spokesperson for Premier Inn said: “We have been assured by an independent fire expert that all our hotels are safe to operate and that we have robust fire safety measures and evacuation procedures in place to protect our guests and teams.

“These include sophisticated fire detectors and fire alarms in every single bedroom; all bedroom doors are fire resisting and self-closing to prevent fire spreading; all corridors are sub-divided by fire resistant doors; our hotels have multiple means of escape, and our well trained teams evacuate a hotel at the first sign of fire.

“We can confirm that the cladding on these hotels is not the same as the cladding used on Grenfell Towers.”

United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust also confirmed that no aluminium composite cladding was used on any of its buildings.