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Cladding sample from Ipswich apartment block fails fire safety test conducted after Grenfell Tower disaster

PUBLISHED: 16:27 11 September 2017 | UPDATED: 16:37 11 September 2017

The Ipaxis development in Ipswich. Picture: ARCHANT

The Ipaxis development in Ipswich. Picture: ARCHANT

Archant

Plastic cladding attached to an Ipswich apartment block has failed a fire safety test conducted in the wake of the Grenfell Tower disaster.

Specialist teams inspected the Ipaxis development in Wolsey Street earlier this year alongside a number of similar buildings across Suffolk.

Inspectors found overall fire safety in the four-storey block was of a high standard – but chiefs were urged to send a cladding sample off for testing just in case.

A piece from the upper two floors was sent off to the Building Research Establishment in line with government advice.

Bosses were told it had failed soon afterwards – prompting joint action from Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service, the county council and the management company.

Edward Ottley is director of Home From Home, which manages the building.

He said: “I can confirm that following the Grenfell Tower disaster there has been fire safety testing going on at various high rise buildings including apartment blocks across Suffolk, and Ipswich in particular.

“When the building managed by Ipaxis in Wolsey Street was assessed we had a sample of the cladding which is on the top two floors of the building, which are essentially penthouse flats, sent off for testing.

“This was following a visit by building control at the county council – they visited and tested the overall fire safety of the building.

“They were very impressed and found that fire safety was of a high standard.

“However when this bit of plastic was tested it did fail and we are working with building control and bringing in specialist teams that carry out fire engineering.

“We had our latest meeting with the fire service on Friday so things are moving quickly.

“We are not alarmed in any way.

“It’s a belt and braces type situation really making sure everything is absolutely safe.”

Group commander Paul Goodman, of Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service said he and his team are taking the result of the test very seriously, but can see the directors are being proactive in addressing their concerns.

He added: “They are doing everything they can and are bringing in a specialist team to provide reassurance to residents and fire safety experts.”

Councillors are due to discuss further inspections of high rise buildings and apartment blocks at a council meeting on Thursday.

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