A Crowborough construction company fitted the external cladding to the tower block devastated by fire in London. As part of the Public Inquiry it is expected key questions will be asked about the role the cladding played in allowing the fire to spread so quickly.
Harley Facades Limited were paid £2.6 million for their part in the refurbishment work to Grenfell Tower, this included the installation of exterior cladding as well as window replacement. The Rydon Group based in Forest Row were the lead contractor for the whole project.
Harley explain on their website that Aluminium Composite Material (ACM) panels are a commonly used product in the refurbishment industry and that they do not manufacture these panels.
Commenting on the fire, Ray Bailey, Managing Director at Harley Facades Limited said:
This is an incredibly tragic incident. Our thoughts are with the residents and their families who have suffered such a personal loss. We will fully support and cooperate with the investigations into this fire. There will be many questions about this whole incident and so you will appreciate that it would not be appropriate for us to comment or for others to speculate on any aspect of fire or it causes in advance of these inquiries. At this time, we are not aware of any link between the fire and the exterior cladding to the tower.
The Guardian newspaper have published an article today (16th June) in which they describe the complex chain of companies that worked on Glenfell Tower.
In 2015 Harley Curtain Wall Ltd went into administration but the Directors continued trading under another existing company with a similar name. The previous article from that time is shown below.
From 15th September 2015: A Crowborough construction business that provided curtain walling – an outer skin for modern high rise residential and office complexes – has been placed in administration.
Harley Curtain Wall Ltd also specialised in windows, doors, structural glazing and rainscreen cladding systems. The company was currently working on a high profile project to transform the old Port of London Authority offices into a new hotel complex known as No.10 Trinity Square, due for completion toward the end of this year.
Last year the company also announced that it had won two other multi-million pound contracts in London – £3m from Sussex based Rydon Group, to carry out the complete overclad and window replacement works to Grenfell Tower in Notting Hill and £2.25m to design and install a complete new facade to Premier House in Edgware. At the time they said on their website:
Prior to the recession, Harley was extremely busy in the London tower block market sector, but when the crash arrived in 2008, local council spend on high rise towers was drastically reduced to cover just essential maintenance.
With the economy now improving, and the market returning, long overdue refurbishment programmes are once again being given the green light.
Ray Bailey formed Harley Curtain Wall Limited in 1996. In late 2002 Harley secured a major contract to clad four 11-storey tower blocks in Croydon and the following year the company moved into purpose built offices called Harley House on Farningham Road.
Julie Palmer and Simon Campbell from business rescue and recovery specialist Begbies Traynor were jointly appointed to handle the administration of Harley Curtain Wall Ltd on 8th September 2015.
A total of 11 people employed by the firm have been made redundant and various assets have been sold to Harley Facades Ltd, which was incorporated in 2010.
Julie Palmer, Regional Managing Partner at Begbies Traynor, said:
Unfortunately, after reviewing all options we were left with little choice but to close the business. The firm had entered difficulty due to cashflow difficulties.
Harley Curtain Wall Ltd reported revenue of £6.4m in 2014.
Mark Harris who was the Commercial Manager at Harley told CrowboroughLife:
The business had traded successfully and profitably for nearly 20 years. In that time, Harley had always maintained a superb relationship with both clients and it’s supply chain. In any given year we undertook a small number of larger scale projects, enjoying repeat business from a number of key clients. Our preferred business was the refurbishment market, and in particular, overcladding existing high rise residential tower blocks.
Like all construction business, the 2008 downturn took us all by surprise, and not least the sustained period of recession. Harley managed to survive the recession, and until recently, expected to be around for the foreseeable future. However, as a result of issues on one single contract causing a major cash flow problem, the business was unable to continue trading, and was sadly placed into administration.Harley was one of the longest surviving family owned UK cladding companies, and it was a very sad day for all involved when the business was placed in to administration.
Records held by Companies House show Raymond Bailey as Director and Belinda Bailey as Company Secretary of both Harley Curtain Wall Ltd and Harley Facades Ltd. Both reside at an address on Glenmore Road in Crowborough. Harley Facades Ltd, based in Paddock Wood, was previously called Telecom Distribution Services Ltd. The nature of the business is now recorded as glazing.
Employees and local dreditors can contact the Joint Administrators on 01722 435190 or see www.begbies-traynorgroup.com.