Greenwich tower and hotel sees cracks on exterior – wholesale cladding replacement required

A complex of buildings including a tower in Greenwich containing the Intercontinental hotel and 100 serviced apartments needs stone cladding replaced due to cracks appearing.

It’s only six years since the structure was completed at the top of Greenwich Peninsula beside the o2.

Balfour Beatty were the contractor, who subsequently discovered problems which are evident across the site.

Panels temporarily replaced due to cracks

The application for replacing exterior panelling states: “Upon receipt of a report confirming the presence of hairline cracks in the stone panels of the cladding system, BB [Balfour Beatty] commissioned Arup to undertake further visual inspections and structural assessment of the stone cladding.

The reports confirmed that a significant number of stone panels had cracks and needed to be replaced with similar stone panels including additional structural supports.

The proposed works for Arora Tower and Hotel include the removal of all existing stone”.


The issue is affecting a number of areas, with the application highlighting that “the panel defects ranged from low risk (chips and small cracks) to moderate (hairline cracks) and high risk (some fractured panels).

Scaffolding has been erected around the entrance to the building. A study noted: “The structural report concluded that the stone is at risk of failing under normal service conditions – there is a risk that the stone could fall from the building causing injuries and damages.”

Installation of new panels will result in changes to the building’s appearance:

The stone will move away from the plane of the existing building face. The additional depth in the system is required to accommodate the subframe supporting the new stone cladding.

This will result in new details required to form the interfaces of the window reveals and other unaltered interfaces.

Introduction of new external components (i.e. metal trims and flashings) to form the new interfaces with the façade.

These elements will be carefully selected, considering colour and finish, and designed to ensure they have a limited effect to the overall building character.

The planning application can be viewed here.


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Murky Depths

I've lived in south east London most of my life growing up in Greenwich borough and working in the area for many years. The site has contributors on occasion and we cover many different topics. Living and working in the area offers an insight into what is happening locally.

3 thoughts on “Greenwich tower and hotel sees cracks on exterior – wholesale cladding replacement required

  • May 16, 2022 at 3:14 pm

    Wow! That’s a major major task, and begs the question as to why this material is cracking or was it flawed when first constructed? This huge building with its consequent enormous weight was constructed in an area prone to high wind, and land which was originally marsh. Are there more deep seated problems perhaps? More than meets the eye? The whole peninsula has had enormous weight added from construction in recent decades, resulting in a mass of high rise with little spent on public green landscaping areas/road improvements. The inevitable loss of income for the hotelier is a massive double whammy for them, and will this result in a huge blame game once again?

  • May 16, 2022 at 7:27 pm

    In Hong Kong there were problems with the stone/metal interface.

    A solution was to replace the stone with vitreous enamel panels that looked like stone.

  • May 16, 2022 at 7:29 pm

    Thamesmead, the Greenwich peninsula, it’s all former marshes. Like trying to play Jenga on a plate load of raspberry jelly.


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