The fire safety certificate for the cladding of an apartment building in Cardiff was found to be false.
A resident of Marseilles House in Century Wharf discovered that the building’s exterior wall review (EWS1) contained a false surveyor’s signature.
An industry-wide certificate was introduced following the Grenfell Tower fire in 2017, in which 72 people died.
The Welsh government said it was “very concerned” by the allegations, which are under investigation.
It was only thanks to a suspected former police officer that the fake was discovered.
Apartment owner Gareth Griffiths, 66, was wary of EWS1 which was signed in July for the apartment block in the Butetown area.
“When I watched it the handwriting wasn’t very good for a professional RICS [Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors] surveyor, ”he told the Local Democracy Reporting Service.
“When I called the surveyor, she was horrified that the investigation had taken place with her signature. ”
The surveyor, who declined to name, confirmed that she had neither carried out the investigation nor signed the form.
Property management firm Warwick Estates commissioned Newbridge to carry out specialist facade inspections to conduct the EWS1 investigation.
However, the facade inspection specialist said he was only producing a report – which is signed by a licensed third-party expert for a fee of £ 200 – and that he was also a victim of fraud.
Company founder Paul Tedstone said the forged signature was also used on “five or six” other EWS1 certificates, but could not provide the contact details of the third-party expert or the name of the company.
“EWS1 is a bloody piece of paper. To check this box, you need a [qualified person]. None of these accreditations that I hold, nor the company has held, ”he said.
“It was absurd: you need someone else just to confirm what we already know. Just for the last piece of paper, because I didn’t have the letters after my name to sign it.
“There have been weeks and weeks of intrusive polls. We haven’t done anything wrong other than being a little naive. We are also victims. ”
Mr Tedstone said the company has withdrawn each certificate bearing the false signature, reviewed each case and reissued each certificate.
Warwick Estates was also invited to comment.
The scandal prompted Neil McEvoy MS to raise concerns in the Welsh Parliament over a larger issue.
“The person who allegedly signed this security certificate stated in writing that they did not inspect and sign the form,” McEvoy said.
“They have no connection with the specialized inspections of the facades and the signature on the letter is not [hers].
“The specialist facade inspectors say they are the victim, but at the end of the day we have a security certificate which I don’t know by whom it was signed. This is truly an urgent matter.
“When will the Minister of Housing take matters into his own hands? Set up a working group and fix the problem. ”
The Welsh government said it was aware of the allegations, which were being investigated by “competent authorities”.
A spokesperson added: “We are very concerned about any suspected fraud in connection with such a vital issue. “
EWS1 forms should only be completed by competent licensed professionals with appropriate fire expertise.
However, the current high demand for these certificates following the Grenfell disaster has led fraudsters to issue fake EWS1 forms, according to the Which? Consumer association.
“Crooks have falsified the names and signatures of surveyors qualified to pass and fail buildings. Some of the forms we saw were signed by surveyors who just don’t exist, ”the report says.
RICS said it condemns such fraud which could have “potentially dangerous consequences” for residents.
Meanwhile, Century Wharf residents are unsure if their building’s coating is safe.
Mr Griffiths said: “Until it’s properly inspected, we don’t know if there is any combustible material in the building’s walls or siding. I am very concerned about the safety of the building. “