The University of Bath awarded Rydon with a £30 million contract to work on its IAAPS research facility.
Rydon led the 2015-16 refurbishment of the Grenfell tower which included the addition of cladding that is widely blamed for the severity of the tragedy. This cladding was installed by a sub-contractor which was selected and managed by Rydon.
The Metropolitan police reported that the cladding failed “all safety tests” while conducting an investigation. This followed Rydon undercutting competitors by £2.5 million to win the contract for the redevelopment of Grenfell, these competitors stating that they could not complete the work within the councils target budget.
Prior to the tragedy, a resident’s blog raised concerns over exposed hot pipes and the installation of boilers in entrance foyers.
The public sector contractor has more recently come under fire for reporting a 50% increase in profits and failing to set aside any financial resource to cover potential expenses of the Grenfell tragedy. This comes as they expect to avoid any fines or charges following the investigation, expected to conclude in 2021. The Metropolitan Police state that they will not be making charges until the investigation is complete.
Sub-standard panelling was used on tower blocks in Camden, upon discovering this the local council considered legal action stating that materials used were below the contracted quality and each panel was £2 cheaper than the fire-resistant alternative. Rydon denied these claims, stating panelling was within standards of Camden’s building control department.
Rydon have not only received criticism for their involvement in the Grenfell tragedy. In March of this year, the firm were fined £500,000 after an employee died on one of their West London construction sites.
Sutton Housing Partnership also sought to cancel a 5-year maintenance contract with Rydon within the first year after finding repairs were not meeting minimum performance standards on time and quality.
The Institute of Advanced Automotive Propulsion Systems (IAAPS) will be situated in the Bristol and Bath Science Park and will research ultra-low emission vehicles.
A University of Bath spokesperson said:
“The University cannot comment on the appointment of contractors for the Institute of Advanced Automotive Propulsion Systems (IAAPS) as contracts have not been signed.
“The selection of any contractor for a project of this value goes through the EU OJEU Procurement regulations and any award is made on the basis of due diligence. The University wishes to make clear that formal processes are being followed for this procurement which include the taking of independent advice. Any appointment of contracts must be approved by Finance Committee and Council.
“On the broader matter of University buildings, the safety of our students, staff and visitors is paramount. We are currently investing more than £130 million in our campus and the Bristol and Bath Science Park, constructing new buildings and improving existing ones, ensuring each project is completed to the highest safety standards. We do not have any polyethylene cladding on University buildings.
“We have a comprehensive fire strategy that is kept under constant review, which includes signage, fire doors, lifts, fire alarms, evacuation plans and fire safety training for staff and students and research facilities.”