Marriott Hotel and Wilmcote House ‘safe’ as fallout from Grenfell Tower continues

The Marriott Hotel with its new cladding
The Marriott Hotel with its new cladding
  • Council assures residents over Wilmcote House as Marriott insists hotel is ‘100 per cent safe’
  • External work on hotel was completed recently and Council block currently undergoing outside work
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BOSSES of two towering Portsmouth buildings have moved to reassure people the structures are totally safe, following the devastating blaze in London.

Fears have arisen across the country regarding high rises that have recently been re-clad following the horrific fire on Wednesday that has taken the lives of at least 30 people.

Water is sprayed on Grenfell Tower in west London after a fire engulfed the 24-storey building on Wednesday morning

Water is sprayed on Grenfell Tower in west London after a fire engulfed the 24-storey building on Wednesday morning

Following a multi-million refurbishment last year that saw the Marriott Hotel in North Harbour get its external facade entirely re-clad, its sales and marketing director Martin Waters has insisted the structure is safe from fire.

He said: ‘We are 100 per cent sure the building is safe. It passed all fire safety regulations and we have water sprinklers in every room, office and corridor of the building. The tower in London did not have any water sprinklers in it at all.

‘The people of Portsmouth can remain confident that this building is completely safe from any fires.’

The works on Portsmouth’s seven-storey, four-star hotel were carried out by contractor Britplas.

Also, Tim Mitchell, head of real estate at GSA – which runs newly-built Catherine House in the city centre – insists the structure is also safe.

He said: ‘The cladding panels on the building have a fully flame-retardant care. We specifically exclude non-retardant cladding materials in all of our construction program globally, as we are aware that there are risks associated with certain materials.’

Experts believe that the rainscreen system used on Grenfell Tower failed due to the void between the aluminium panels and the building fabric acting as a chimney to funnel the fire upwards.

Portsmouth City Council also moved to ease residents’ fears regarding the fire safety for the authority’s 13 tower blocks, notably Wilmcote House in Somers Town.

The 107-room complex was internally renovated in 2014 and is currently being externally renovated and re-clad.

A council spokesperson said: ‘The building is being completely renovated and upgraded externally, improving fire safety even further, in accordance with the most stringent fire regulations.’

He added that the sides of the building are being clad with panels made from mineral wool, which is derived from volcanic rock and is non-combustible.

Safety checks have also been carried out by Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs Queen Alexandra Hospital in Cosham. A spokeswoman said: ‘We are currently reviewing any of our buildings that have cladding on them.

‘At this time we have found nothing that causes concern, and have not identified any cladding of the type used on Grenfell Tower.’