Following the tragic fire at Grenfell Tower, I am writing to provide some reassurance about the cladding and fire safety of both City buildings and our student accommodation, provided under nomination agreements with private providers.
I can confirm that a review of our current fire prevention measures and a full fire risk assessment of our City buildings is well underway. The assessment is not due for completion until 12th July but there is no indication of any cause for concern. Although there are no obvious cases of Aluminium Composite Material (ACM) cladding of the type which is believed to present a potential fire risk, colleagues in Property & Facilities are in the process of checking the origin and fire rating of every installation. We are also in the process of undertaking a similar fire safety audit of buildings overseas that are used by City students and staff, for example our premises in Dubai and those of our collaborative partner institutions.
As you may know, we do not own or manage any student accommodation. However, we do have nomination agreements with five private providers covering six residences – Alliance House, Willen House, Liberty Court, Liberty Hall, Pure City and East Central House. I can confirm that none of them has ACM cladding, except for Pure City where we are working with its owners to provide assurances about its safety. We do know that the cladding is used only in isolated areas and as it does not cover the entire building any risk appears to be very low. However, further checks are underway to determine the extent of the risk and a full fire risk assessment will be completed by 10th July. We will work closely with the building owners to ensure that any recommendations are implemented fully.
I am also very aware that many of you live in privately-rented property or social and local authority housing and may have concerns about fire risk. To this end colleagues at the University of London have prepared some very helpful general information and advice and this is available on the website at https://housing.london.ac.uk/fire-safety-home.
Finally, HEFCE is undertaking a sector-wide audit of fire safety in university buildings and we are in the process of finalising our submission: you might expect to see some media coverage as and when the national results are made public.