Timber balconies removed from Westminster towers amid fire safety fears

22 October 2019 | By Neil Gerrard

Timber from the balconies of 750 Westminster properties is to be removed amid fire safety fears.

Six high-rise residential towers on the Warwick and Brindley estates, known as the Little Venice towers, are to have the balconies removed as a safety measure.

The timber decking panels will be replaced with concrete tiles at a cost of £3m. The balconies came up to previous fire standards but the Westminster City Council said it was adopting new advice that had been published in the wake of the Grenfell Tower disaster.

The 3,000m2 of decking will be recycled either for allotments on the estate or through social enterprise Community Wood Recycling.

Last year the council removed all of the ACM cladding from the Little Venice towers, and will start work to re-insulate them later this year by applying a completely non-combustible alternative that was agreed with residents.

It added that there are no other council-owned residential buildings with timber frames, balconies or decking.

Councillor Andrew Smith, Westminster City Council cabinet member for housing services, said: “The safety of our residents is our top priority and as a forward-thinking council, when it comes to fire safety works, we’re keeping ahead of changing building regulations. We’re acting swiftly and safely, doing so in a green and environmentally friendly way. The timber may be no good for a balcony, but it’s great for an allotment.”


This is sensible and deserved recognition. I have witnessed badly installed cables fixed to a wooden structure that has invited fire. Moreover, attention has to be given in tighter regulations, concerning the correct choice of electrical cables for application consideration.
In any form of wooden structures, cables should be metallic sheathed, MICC type.

Geoffrey Williams, 22 October 2019

You would think that would be standard practice, obviously not?

Sheila, 24 October 2019

I would have thought that concrete tiles would be very heavy compared to timber. Will the infrastructure support this increased weight. Are there not alternative light weight solutions? Guess concrete is the cheaper option but not necessarily the best one.

sean Morgan, 25 October 2019

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