A COLCHESTER company is helping flat owners in the town reduce the risk of fires breaking out as a result problematic wooden cladding in their properties.

PMS Managing Estates, which is comprised of managing agents for leaseholders with homes oi Nicholson’s Grove, is replacing flammable timber in a number of its flats.

Wooden cladding was a design feature of many 1980s and early 1990s developments, but its safety was called into question after the Grenfell Tower tragedy in 2017.

The Government has recently offered funding support to replace combustible cladding on high-rise buildings, but low-rise buildings still do not qualify.

In addition to the fire safety concerns, flat owners in Colchester and across the country have therefore also faced issues selling their properties.

The difficulty comes as a result of many mortgage lenders refusing to provide funds without expensive fire assessments being carried out and EWS1 certificates.

The move to improve the safety of the Colchester properties was therefore made possible using reserve funds initially set aside for external redecorations.


The £27,000 project, which is expected to be completed by the end of September, is already underway, much to the delight of flats owners in Nicholsons Grove.

Michael Poole, residents’ management company director, said: “PMS have been superb, and all the residents seem very happy.

“There’s been a lot of bad publicity about the risk of properties catching fire and residents being left with massive bills to remove cladding.

“But, through good management and careful financial management, we have enough money in our funds to do the work and we have been able remove the risk.”

The project will see the timber cladding replaced with a cement-based product called Hardieplank, which is identical to the previous cladding but is fire-proof.

A spokesman for the Essex Fire Service is now calling on the community to work with fire experts to solve the “national issue” of combustible cladding.

They added: "Protecting our communities and preventing fire is our priority, and this is at the heart of our approach to reviewing the safety arrangements of buildings.

"Sadly, we all know that it’s taken the tragic events at the Grenfell Tower fire to highlight the angers of flammable cladding and lead to legislation change.

“This is a national issue impacting many leaseholders across the country

“The most effective way forward is to work with the responsible person to assess the risk and ensure they are taking necessary action to keep their residents safe."

For more information visit flatmanagers.co.uk.