Cladding at student block sent for testing

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THE developer of a high-rise student block in the city centre has sent cladding used on the building for testing.

Unite Students, which owns the housing block on Greetham Street, said the move was a precautionary measure and that it had ‘robust’ fire safety measures in place.

It comes as BBC Newsnight obtained a report showing that the testing for the cladding on the 24-storey building – similar to that used on Grenfell Tower – was done using a legal alternative to laboratory testing, called a desktop study.

This desktop study sees an engineer assess the building without a physical inspection. It was used for the Unite Students building, which has 761 single-bed rooms and 75 studio flats.

In a statement, the firm said the building, opened in September, meets with all regulations and has sprinklers. The firm added firefighters had visited the building.

‘As an extra precaution, we last week commenced a thorough inspection of all our high rise buildings and will be submitting the materials used at Greetham Street for further independent testing under the government approved scheme,’ the firm said.

The aluminium cladding containing fire retardants was similar to that used in Grenfell Tower, but not the same, the BBC reported.

Fiona Bell, director of estates at the university, said the institution was working with all third party providers of accommodation to get assurances.

The university is offering alternative accommodation for those who want to move out while tests are carried out.