In July 2022, a fire took hold at a new build apartment of 5 rooms in Bromley, Kent. Half of the home was destroyed in the fire that took four hours and around 100 firefighters to put out. Part of the roof of the block of apartments was also damaged. No injuries were reported but there was significant damage to the building.
Orb Rope Access was called in by developers U and I, and property maintenance and refurbishment contractor The Property Crew, to use our expertise in working at height to help make the site safe.
- Remove loose cladding and unsafe elements of the fire-damaged roof that might cause injury to users of the building, teams working on the renovations, or members of the public
- Inspect all fire-damaged areas located at height for structural integrity
- Waterproof affected areas.
The St Mark’s Square self-contained apartment is located in a 19-storey new build block that is part of a mixed-use development of residential and leisure properties. There is a Vue cinema, cafes, restaurants and a Premier Inn Hotel in the St Mark’s Square development, so this is a busy area for footfall.
Access was challenging because we were unable to rigg from the structure, so instead, we used mobile anchors. These are temporary attachment points designed for use on flat or sloping roofs.
Because the fire damaged cladding was positioned above a public area we needed to work safely and swiftly with precision, to avoid injuring anyone in the area or causing further damage to the structure.
Benefits to the client
Rope access was the only way to reach the cladding and roof to complete the works due to the structure of the building and limited access to such a compact and busy residential and leisure development. Rope access doesn’t require scaffolding or powered access systems so doesn’t need vehicular access, and the work doesn’t impact the ground area below.
In terms of cost, a rope access team was far less expensive for the client than assembling scaffolding or using MEWPs (mobile elevating work platforms). Because we are also quicker, it saved labour costs.
This was the first time Orb Rope Access worked with U and I and The Property Crew. The collaboration of their local knowledge and our expertise in working at height was productive and successful. Having worked with us, the clients now understand the capabilities of rope access and the benefits of using us for working at height.
Benefits to people who use the building
Once the area was made safe, residents and leisure visitors were able to go about their normal day without disruption while the Orb Rope Access team got the work done above them, out of the way.