Council approve Cardiff high-rise remediation scheme

As part of its ongoing remediation programme, Cardiff Council has announced plans to undergo a multi-million-pound recladding scheme at two residential high-rises in the capital. 

In a meeting held on 21 March 2024, the cabinet reviewed the progress of replacing cladding for the council’s high-rise blocks. Split into two phases, the recladding scheme covers five blocks in total: three blocks at Lydstep Flats (first phase) and two blocks of high-rise flats, Nelson House and Loudoun House (second phase).

As stated in the cabinet report: “Testing showed that while the cladding on these blocks was not of the highly flammable ACM type that was used in Grenfell Tower, it did not meet current fire safety standards and therefore could pose additional risk during a fire.

“Following discussion with the Fire Service the external cladding was removed from 5 of the blocks. The cladding has remained in place in Loudoun House. This block has 2 stairwells and is considered a lower risk than the other high-rise buildings, however a 24-hour fire watch has remained in place to ensure the safety of the residents.”

With recladding and improvement works at Lydstep Flats nearing completion, approval was requested to proceed with recladding works at the two remaining high-rises. The majority of Nelson House and Loudoun House, consisting of 181 flats in total, are under council contract, and £25 million in grant funding from the Welsh Government has been agreed in principle. While the expected completion date for work is September 2027, it is understood that residents can continue living in their homes while remedial work takes place.

In an update published on 22 March, the cabinet resolved that the “proposed procurement route for the over cladding of Nelson House and Loudoun House be approved”.

The cabinet added that “all aspects of the procurement process for the over cladding works to Nelson Houses and Loudoun House (up to and including award of contract/s and any ancillary matters) be delegated to the Director of Adults Housing and Communities in consultation with the Cabinet Member Housing and Communities, Corporate Director Resources and Director of Governance and Legal Services, subject to approval of appropriate grant funding being secured from Welsh Government”.

The scope of the work, as mentioned in the cabinet meeting report, will include the removal of cladding from Loudoun House, the installation of new cladding systems to both Nelson House and Loudoun House, new external windows and curtain walling, replacement roof covering of the concierge block, and other fire safety works as identified in the fire risk assessment.

Prior to the meeting, Councillor Lynda Thorne, Cabinet Member for Housing and Communities, said: "The safety of residents in our high rise flats is of paramount importance, and while the recladding scheme at Lydstep Flats took longer than we expected for various reasons, the result has been worth the wait with cladding of the highest level of fire safety, improved thermal efficiency for residents, and the upgraded appearance of the three blocks which enhances the local surroundings.

"We've learned some lessons along the way and will be utilising that knowledge as we begin the process for Nelson and Loudoun Houses."