Green Facades pleaded guilty at Liverpool Magistrates’ Court to breaching safety regulations following HSE visit 

A flammable cladding removal and replacement company has been fined £240,000 for leaving “dangerous” combustible material similar to that used on Grenfell Tower lying on balconies at a Liverpool housing block. 

London-based firm Green Facades, which was established in the wake of the Grenfell Tower tragedy, had been contracted to remove aluminium composite panels and combustible insulation material from The Circle, an eight-storey building on Henry Street in Liverpool.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that Green Facades “had failed to take appropriate precautions to address the risk of fire and to ensure the safety of residents, workers, and others”. 


An HSE image of exposed combustible material on The Circle in Liverpool

At Liverpool Magistrates’ Court, the company pleaded guilty to breaching two aspects of the Construction Regulations Act 2015, regarding “risks to health or safety”. It was fined £240,000 and ordered to pay costs of £5,405.

After the hearing, HSE inspector Jackie Western, said: “The disturbing irony of this case is that work to protect residents from fire risk ended up making the situation more dangerous.” 

An HSE inspector first visited the site on 10 January last year and found that Green Facades had left combustible material exposed on the building. It also found “inadequate” means of escaping from the scaffolding the firm had erected in order to undertake the work.

When the inspector returned 11 days later, she found the situation had worsened with further combustible material exposed and no protection from potential sources of ignition, with cladding material having been left lying on residents’ balconies. 

The Circle building remained occupied during the works. Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service were alerted by the HSE following the 2022 inspection. 

The combustible cladding removed from The Circle was similar to that used on Grenfell Tower which caught fire in 2017 causing the deaths of 72 people.

>> See also Scheme to ban fire safety laggard developers comes into force

>> See also What Gove’s Responsible Actors scheme is likely to mean for building safety

Residents of The Circle building had been paying £3,284.40 a week for round-the-clock “waking watch” following guidance issued the the National Fire Chiefs Council “due to the building not complying with current building regulations,” according to a letter published in the Liverpool Echo in 2020

The HSE confirmed that Green Facades had been subject to an earlier enforcement for similar breaches during cladding removal at a site in London. At that time the company was provided with advice on sustainable compliance with the regulations.

“This prosecution highlights the need for responsible management of the removal of cladding. The potentially tragic consequences of fire involving this type of material are well known following the Grenfell Tower fire,” Western said.

“Despite earlier interventions and advice from HSE, and the availability of a wealth of guidance from HSE and others, this company continued to fail in its duty to address the risk of fire, putting people’s lives at risk.”

Green Facades did not respond to a request for comment.