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Storms snatch panels from refurb tower

HIGH WINDS last weekend tore as many as 30, 2m 2cladding panels from BT Stadium House, Cardiff's tallest building, which is undergoing refurbishment.

Specialist abseil investigators were this week focusing on the proprietary composite resin based overcladding and fixing system.

This is being installed to protect the original reinforced concrete cladding that has become weakened by corrosion (NCE 2 May).

Around 14 panels were dislodged on the north and south elevations of the tower. Damage was confined to areas where work was unfinished and where the overcladding was not fully sealed.

South Wales bore the brunt of last weekend's gales, with winds up to 43m/second recorded at Mumbles in Swansea and gusts travelling up to 52m/s recorded at street level in Cardiff.

The new cladding had been designed to withstand wind speeds of 66.7m/s even before safety factors are added in.

'The cladding should have been able to withstand a lot more wind load so this is a major concern, ' said Parsons Brinckerhoff design team leader Aidan Cronin. PB is the project engineer, Amec the main contractor.

'At this stage we don't know the reasons [for the failure] so we have to keep an open mind.'

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