Troubled Beetham Tower and another failure from its bracketed windows

The curse on blighted Beetham Tower has struck again. The building which hosts the Hilton Manchester Deansgate has a big flaw. 

Apparently it's the sealant's fault folks, but, my-oh-my, it doesn't look or feel safe. Another glass panel failed today (18 September) falling approximately 15/16m (50ft) on the Great Bridgewater Street side of the building.  

Safety glass presently lies strewn across the road as traffic drives over the glistening shards - even after a partial cleanup. Hazard tape surrounds the entrance to the flats which sit over the Hilton Deansgate Hotel. 

It appears the brackets can't disguise the problems any more

If this failure of a glass panel had happened higher up on the building there could have been catastrophic consequences. Even at the low-level from where the glass cascaded onto the street there could have been serious consequences. 

The problems lie with the bottom 22 storeys of the 47 storey tower and with the sealant there. Since 2014, nine years ago, unsightly brackets (technically stitch plates) have held the windows in place after several earlier failures. It appears the brackets can't disguise the problems any more. 

Beetham Panefull 5
Paneless display on Great Bridgewater Street Image: Confidentials

The brackets were a temporary measure but in 2018 the contractor, Carillion, went into administration and the temporary solution has taken on the character of a permanent one. 

In 2020, the then-landlord of the Hilton Deansgate, Ground Rents Income Fund, was forced to respond after the leaseholder, Blue Manchester, which now owns the hotel, was supported in a legal action against the landlord by the High Court. The estimated remediation bill back in 2014 was £4m.

It will be more now. And someone will have to take the lead and fix those windows permanently. 

One of the two solutions presented to the High Court was complete replacement of the glass panels, the box units they sit upon, the bonding material and the aluminium carrier frames. The landlord couldn't afford the solution. 

Beetham Tower Paneless 2
Glazing out: Police and staff at the scene Image: Confidentials
Beetham Tower Panefull 4
Shards on the street after a partial cleanup Image: Confidentials

The building was designed by Manchester practice Simpson Haugh architects, who have, subsequently, designed all the towers at Deansgate Square and the currently under-construction neighbour of Beetham Tower/Hilton Deansgate, Viadux. It appears the correct sealant has been used in these tall structures. 

Nor do these newer towers sing as Beetham Tower with that glass extrusion on the top is prone to do when the wind comes in from a certain southerly direction. 

There will be a follow up to this story in the coming days. 

For now let's hope those brackets hold a little longer. 

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