CLADDING on a residential tower block in Poole will be upgraded after £500,000 was set aside to cover the cost of the work.

Panels at Sterte Court, which have “limited combustibility” will be replaced with non-compustible cladding as part of work to replace the façade following the discovery of a number of issues connected to a recent refurbishment.

Poole council’s cabinet has now agreed to fund the purchase of new panels and the design work required for their installation.

Refurbishment carried out in 2013 and 2014 by Engie on behalf of Poole Housing Partnership (PHP), which manages the block for Poole council, included installing new cladding on the building.

However, in 2015 “a number of defects” were identified with the work, including rivets failing to hold panels in place and “repeated bowing” of the cladding.

A report to Engie and PHP, published earlier this year, found that the issues were caused by “poor workmanship” carried out by sub-contractors employed by Engie and the firm has accepted responsibility to rectify the problems.

To do so, the panels, which have “limited combustibility” will have to be removed and reinstalled – a project which is expected to cost the company between £1.5m and £2m.

Poole council has now agreed to take the opportunity, in light of the Grenfell Tower fire, to purchase new “non-combustible” cladding to be installed in place of the older panels.

Speaking at Tuesday’s meeting of Poole council’s cabinet, Cllr Karen Rampton, the cabinet member for housing, said that the upgrade would show that it had taken a “belt and braces” approach to fire safety measures.

She said: “Although the existing panels meet all fire safety requirements, in light of the tragedy at Grenfell Tower it’s felt that it could be something we could do to make it even safer.

“It shows that we are taking a belt and braces approach to fire safety at Sterte Court.”

The cabinet unanimously agreed to set aside £500,000 to cover the cost of the purchase of the panels which will then be installed by Engie during its work to rectify the existing issues.

Since 2016, Engie has employed a specialist to carry out monthly inspections of the panels to manage defects and they will be in place until the refit has been completed.