As a UK consultancy practice, we were approached by the Local Government Association to conduct a nationwide research exercise on the measures taken by councils across the country to ensure the safety of their large panel system buildings (LPS).
The LPS construction method was extensively used in the 1960s to quickly build residential accommodation as part of the country's post-World War II rebuilding efforts. However, the construction method has raised national concerns over the years due to the risk of partial or complete collapse inherent in the construction. LPS constructions are particularly vulnerable to internal gas explosions, as was tragically demonstrated in May 1968 when the Ronan Point tower block partially collapsed due to an internal gas explosion.
The damage caused that day was more than expected, leading to a government-led reappraisal of LPS blocks throughout the UK. This resulted in the issuance of a number of circulars and amendments to the building regulations and national wind code by the Ministry of Housing.
Despite the introduction of safety measures over the years, many LPS-style buildings still exist across the country. Our research uncovered various methods used by councils to ensure safety, including engagement with residents and local communities. We also discovered the challenges councils faced along the way.
As a result of our research, we partnered with the Local Government Association to create a series of case studies highlighting good practice across the country.
These case studies will serve as a guide for local authorities to set principles for future strategic planning.
We would like to extend our gratitude to the Ledbury Estates Team, Leicester City Council, Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council, Portsmouth City Council, and Rugby Borough Council for sharing their successful approaches within their localities.
The case studies will be available shortly on the Local Government Association's website by following this link: