Residents’ two-year wait for report on fire safety at Sheffield tower block

A former resident of a Sheffield tower block has voiced his concern after a council report into whether the building was unsafe for a period of five years is yet to be published – two years after it was promised.

By Sam Cooper
Wednesday, 14 August, 2019, 12:51

Michael Mullin, who used to live and still has relatives living in Hanover Tower, said he had carried out two years of research into the fire safety of the building.

He said that residents’ safety was put at risk between 2012 and 2017 as the council ‘didn't know the specification of cladding panels’ installed on the building in 2012 and that lives were put at risk by South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue issuing its ‘stay put’ policy during that time.

He also claimed that the council was due to publish a report reviewing the situation was due to be published two years ago but has still not been released.

Cladding was removed from Hanover Tower in 2017 after it failed a test.

Mr Mullin said: “It’s all about the past and people say you can’t dwell on the past but the truth was that residents’ fire safety was put at risk for five years – from 2012 to 2017.

“The council also promised to publish a report with an in-depth review of work at the tower in 2017 and it still hasn’t been published.

“Out of decency this report on how the wrong gladding got on in the first place should be done before the new cladding went on so residents can be reasured that this sub contractor, who is now patrolling Hanover’s site, is in the clear or not.”

Mr Mullin also said a fire test carried out in July 2017 showed a blaze would spread throughout the building, which houses around 126 residents in just six minutes.

Cladding was removed from Hanover Tower in 2017 after it failed a test.

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But Sheffield Council claimed it did not carry out a test on the complete wall system and was instructed by the government to send any suspected aluminium composite material, which was used on Grenfell Tower.

The council said the cladding failed the test and was replaced.

Hanover Tower was the only block in Sheffield to fail new fire tests following the Grenfell fire in June 2017, which killed 72 people.

Residents were also told to ‘stay put’ during 2012 and 2017, Mr Mullin also said, which he added was the period of time the building was masked with what he described as ‘unsafe cladding’.

But South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service said the council had already carried out works ‘to ensure the internal fire resistance between flats was suitable and sufficient’.

It added that inspecting officers ‘were satisfied that the compartmentation between flats was satisfactory’ and that the ‘stay put’ policy remained in place.

Mr Mullin accused the council of not taking responsiblity for the five-year period in which he claimed the cladding on the building was ‘unsafe’.

He added: “What they are doing is trying to take advantage of the national problem. They are not taking responsibility.”

Sheffield Council did not respond to The Star’s request for a comment about why the publication of the report had been delayed.