Neal James is Managing Director of Panthera Group, one of the UK’s leading construction site set up businesses. He discusses the new wave of funding allocated by the UK Government for replacement cladding on high rise buildings and how to make sure the works are safe and compliant.

As it approaches the four-year mark since one of the UK’s worst modern disasters; the Grenfell tragedy, there are still many buildings that require new, safe cladding and thousands of tenants and leaseholders that are stuck in potentially unsafe high-rise buildings. The Government’s announcement of £5bn of funding for building safety last week includes £3.5bn that will fully fund the cost of replacing unsafe cladding in residential buildings 18 metres (6 storeys) and over in England. This is in addition to the sum of £1.6bn announced last year. A long-term, low interest, government back financing arrangement will also be put in place for lower-rise buildings between 11 and 18m.

This good news provides welcome relief for affected residents and it is also expected to generate a flurry of construction work on affected sites throughout the UK. Safety will rightly be paramount.

The HSE has issued guidelines for inspectors on “Managing fire risk during cladding and insulation removal and replacement on tall buildings” and fire safety is clearly key with evacuation call points required on every lift of scaffolding and a well-thought detection and alarm system throughout the whole scaffold area. The guidance also calls for well managed site security because arson is a common cause of fires on sites. (Paragraphs 117 – 121 of HSE guidance HSG 168 offers further advice).

Full guidance is available for download from the HSE website:

Site Hoarding

Site security starts with a secure boundary around the site. Principal contractors are now increasingly switching to sustainable hoarding systems that eliminate the use of single-use timber and plywood. This not only prevents the unnecessary felling of trees but stops timber from ending up in landfill. Contractors embracing sustainable hoarding benefit from a boost to Considerate Constructor and BRREAM scoring.

EnviroHoard™ is a closed loop recycling system launched by Panthera Group in 2020. As well as environmental benefits, the recycled, recyclable uPVC system can be used multiple times and is simple to install – in-ground, on-ground or attached to scaffolding. Designed to meet TW:f2012 guidance for wind and notional load the system does not delaminate, requires no maintenance and can be produced in all RAL colours. Graphics, if required, are applied directly to the panels removing the need for aluminium dibond.

More information:

Evacuation Call Points

In line with guidance on evacuation call points, Panthera Group’s SiteEvac™ range of Wireless Fire Evacuation and First Aid products can be scaled and customised to any size of recladding project. The system captures data from multiple wireless devices and relays it back to the user via an integrated LCD display screen. This includes active fire alarms, intruder alerts, first aid alerts, heat and smoke detector activations, battery low warning and signal failure along with an evacuate site function. A SiteEvaccall point on every lift of scaffolding would enable each level to evacuate if necessary.

For more information:

CCTV and Scaffold Alarms

The most cost-effective way of protecting a construction site is to install CCTV security cameras. SiteProtector™ from Panthera Group offers a range of wired and wireless options from rapidly deployed CCTV systems – designed for the smaller construction site requiring proactive temporary site protection and monitoring – to CCTV Towers offering full site protection, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Panthera Security is the UK’s largest Scaffold Alarm installer. UKAS ISO9001 certified and the first company in the UK to become accredited to the National Security Inspectorate as an NSI Gold installer, Panthera can design, install and certificate scaffold alarms in accordance with the National Code of Practice, NCP115. As a key requirement on recladding projects, Panthera Group understands the challenges of site security and works in partnership with clients to provide relevant and efficient solutions.

For more information:

Optional 24/7 monitoring by a NACOSS Gold accredited Alarm Receiving Centre (ARC).

One Call, One Contract

Panthera Group is a one-stop-shop for all the services required to provide a safe and secure working environment. Years of experience in providing construction site services including temporary power, plumbing, site offices, access control systems, CCTV and scaffold alarms, fire evacuation, first aid and hoarding ensure the most complex, demanding projects can be managed smoothly. Our clients include Tier 1 and 2 Contractors working on prestigious projects including Big Ben, Battersea Power Station, Silvertown Tunnel, Harrods, the National Portrait Gallery and Moorfields Eye Hospital along with smaller contractors working on small and medium size projects that require the same level of dedicated, cost-effective service.

Contractors on cladding projects can rest assured that sub-contracting construction site services to Panthera Group will save you time, money and planning. We do that for you.