Berkeley-Built London Apartments Evacuate 1,000 on Safety Fears
(Bloomberg) -- About 1,000 people were ordered to leave a west London housing complex after the owners decided the building developed by Berkeley Group Holdings Plc wasn’t safe to live in.
Residents in the six blocks of homes in the suburb of Hounslow were relocated on Monday after checks triggered concerns about fire safety and other issues, according to a statement from Notting Hill Genesis, their housing association owner. Berkeley built the complex in 2006, according to the statement.
The issues of how extensive the problems are with the Hounslow apartments and the associated costs are still unclear, Notting Hill Genesis Chief Executive Officer Kate Davies said in an emailed reply to questions.
Berkeley “is helping us with finding a solution to the problems identified,” said Davies. “We cannot speculate on the cost of a resolution as the full extent of the problems has not been concluded and until it is, we cannot take a decision on the type of remediation we will undertake.”
A spokesperson for Berkeley declined to comment.
The government is overhauling building safety regulations after a fire destroyed the Grenfell Tower apartments in 2017, killing 72 people. Residents had made complaints about the safety of that property before the blaze, after a type of cladding put the entire block at an increased risk of fire.
More than 300 buildings still have the same kind of cladding as Grenfell, according to a report from the National Audit Office. The statement didn’t suggest the Hounslow complex was one of them.
Housebuilders have been under pressure to renovate buildings that present similar risks to Grenfell, throwing up debates over who has responsibility for the work. Berkeley rival Barratt Developments Plc said in July it estimated the costs of removing the cladding on its buildings would come to over 85 million pounds ($111 million).
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