Building remediation: Cardiff set to start £25m recladding scheme

Cardiff recladding
Loudon House (above) and Nelson House are to undergo recladding by Cardiff Council (Image: Google Street View)

Cardiff Council is set to approve a £25m investment plan for two high-rises in the city as part of its ongoing recladding scheme.

Nelson House and Loudoun House in Butetown will undergo recladding and improvement works in phase two of the council’s remediation programme.

According to the Cabinet’s agenda for its upcoming meeting on 21 March, the main works in the project include:

  • removal of cladding from Loudoun House (cladding has already been removed from Nelson House);
  • installation of new cladding system to both Nelson House and Loudoun House;
  • new external windows and curtain walling;
  • replacement roof covering of the concierge block;
  • some boiler replacements and gas works will be necessary as part of the works;
  • other fire safety works as identified in the Fire Risk Assessment;

As part of the construction, the new cladding system will be fire-tested to give assurance that the intended products and systems are safe for use. 

The council said residents of the 181 flats across the two blocks will be involved at all stages as the scheme develops, including in the final choice of cladding design.

‘Learned some lessons’

After the Grenfell fire on 14 June 2017 that killed 72 people, cladding was removed from five of Cardiff Council’s high-rise blocks.

The council said that although the retrofitted, external cladding on its high-rises was not the same as the highly flammable ACM-type used at Grenfell, it nonetheless did not meet current fire safety standards and therefore could pose an additional risk during a fire. 

Cladding was not removed from Loudoun House at that time as the building was considered lower risk with two stairwells and a 24/7 fire watch, which remains in place.

As recladding and improvement works at the three blocks at Lydstep Flats are nearing completion, proposals for the second phase of the project at Nelson House and Loudoun House will be considered by the Cabinet at its next meeting.

Cabinet member for housing and communities, councillor Lynda Thorne, 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.”

The council aims to appoint a contractor before the end of this year with construction expected to begin in January 2026.

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