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£2 million set to be spent on Sandwell tower block safety

By George Makin | Sandwell | News | Published: | Last Updated:

Plans to spend to spend more than £2 million ensuring the facades of high-rise towers in Sandwell are maintained and safe are expected to be passed by council bosses next week.

Alfred Gunn House, Sandwell. Photo: Google StreetView.

Sandwell Council's cabinet is being asked to approve a five-year contract with Bell Decorating Group Limited to carry out a rolling programme on the borough’s 55 multi-storey housing blocks.

The scheme was first approved last year after the council proposed a cyclical maintenance schedule on outside cladding following the 2017 Grenfell Tower disaster in which 72 people died after the facade caught fire.

In response the council tested the materials on all its tower blocks and the cabinet decided to award a specific contract to maintain the facings on outside walls.

Recommending approval of the contract, housing officers say that at present there is no agreement with outside companies to maintain the cladding of its high-rise buildings.

Burden

In their report to the cabinet, they say: “The alternative is to not invest in our council housing stock which in turn may lead to dissatisfaction from existing and potential new tenants as well as disrepair and additional burden on the housing revenue account.”

Thirty-five companies bid for the contract which which will cost £440,000 a year and will run until August 2024 when it is expected to be re-tendered.

If the cabinet agrees the contract, Bell Decorating Group Limited said it will provide work experience opportunities to local people and offer employability skills workshops where job hunters can learn how to prepare CVs, practice mock interviews and learn personal financial management.

In addition it will hold DIY classes as part of career training courses for those wanting to work in the construction industry.

Sandwell’s cabinet will discuss the contract at its meeting on August 28.

George Makin

By George Makin
@GeorgePMakin

Local Democracy Reporter covering Sandwell and Dudley.

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