Studies that branded two Portsmouth tower blocks ‘unsafe’ are revealed

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DOCUMENTS which revealed instabilities in two city tower blocks, sparking a major evacuation programme, have been released for the first time.

Expert studies of Leamington House and Horatia House are today being made public by Portsmouth City Council.

Leamington House in Portsmouth as hundreds of residents are told there is a structural weakness in the concrete ''Picture: Malcolm Wells

Leamington House in Portsmouth as hundreds of residents are told there is a structural weakness in the concrete ''Picture: Malcolm Wells

It’s part of the authority’s on-going policy of ‘transparency’ for the 800 residents affected by the clear-out.

The reports, conducted by two of Britain’s top structural engineering firms, revealed both 18-storey buildings had critical weaknesses in their concrete structures, which could collapse in the event of an unpiped gas explosion.

However, the studies don’t suggest the Somers Town sites were at risk of falling down without a gas explosion happening first.

Councillor Darren Sanders, the city’s housing boss, said any risk to residents was minimal but added: ‘What these reports say is that doing nothing is not an option.

Leamington House in Portsmouth as hundreds of residents are told there is a structural weakness in the concrete. Picture: Malcolm Wells

Leamington House in Portsmouth as hundreds of residents are told there is a structural weakness in the concrete. Picture: Malcolm Wells

‘Even if there is a small but significant risk, you’ve got to put residents’ safety first.’

The structural survey, by Wilde Carter Clack and the building Research Establishment, was published in March.

Concrete samples from walls and floors were tested to see how much force they could take. Both buildings failed to meet safety standards, with the study recommending strengthening work takes place.

Leamington House was the weaker of the two, with the report saying a ‘significant’ number of wall panels from the top 10 storeys and ‘majority’ of floor slabs were too weak.

The study concluded the high-rise was ‘unsatisfactory’ to live in ‘unless significant remedial and strengthening works’ were carried out’.

Experts added it was ‘imperative’ to not allow any material that could explode into the buildings.

see the full reports on both buildings, visit Portsmouth City Council’s website at: portsmouth.gov.uk