29 Jan 2022

Exclusive: Kilkenny County Council waiting months on cladding analysis

Letters obtained by the Kilkenny People reveal when property owners were notified...

Exclusive: Kilkenny County Council waiting months on cladding analysis

The devastation caused by the Grenfell Tower fire

Kilkenny County Council is “still awaiting the outcome of fire safety assessments” on three properties in Kilkenny with cladding on them – 12 weeks after the initial the local authority made an initial survey.

Cladding - used in the Grenfell Tower block and blamed for the rapid spread of the fire which killed at least 80 people in London – was found in three Kilkenny residential properties greater than six storeys.

Cladding is a covering on a structure; the material is often used to insulate buildings and also used in part to improve their appearance.

The material on Grenfell Tower was found to be defective and a review was ordered here by our Government with a letter sent to local authorities on July 4 of this year.  

In a statement previously, Kilkenny County Council said it was “asked to identify buildings greater than six storeys or more than 18m in height fitted with some form of external cladding”.

A site visit was required and they said: “Eleven such properties were identified in Kilkenny and 8 of these are totally commercial and/or industrial, 3 have a residential element to them and these 3 have a limited amount of cladding.

“The owners of these properties have been contacted in respect of their fire safety obligations.”

The Kilkenny People can now exclusively reveal that three months since the cladding was first highlighted – the Council are still awaiting the outcome of the fire safety assessment from the owners.

John Collins, Chief Fire Officer at Kilkenny County Council, said: “We haven’t received any fire safety assessment as of yet.

"They have been in touch with us, it is a complex technical issue, they will need the services of a fire safety engineer and it will take time to carry out the assessment.”

Information obtained through a Freedom of Information request – seeking the outcomes of fire inspections on the three multi-storey buildings found to have cladding in Kilkenny – revealed the three buildings were subject to the “fire safety cert process”.

The Council, in responding to the Department, said one of the developments is partially unoccupied.

The report found there were three residential buildings of more than six storeys or more than than 18m in height and these properties were then written to on August 24 informing the managers that the Council was carrying out the review of buildings fitted with external cladding or rain screen systems.

The letter said: “If your building is of this height and has external cladding...then the Fire Authority the person having control over the premises to carry out a fire safety assessment of the premises, including the cladding systems.”

In a letter dated October 10, Mr Collins said the “property owners indicated to the Fire Authority that they will carry out the fire safety assessment”.

He added: “The Fire Authority awaits the outcome of the fire safety assessments”.

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