News

Immediate action being taken to remove external cladding from five Chalcots Estate tower blocks in Camden

Thursday, June 22, 2017 - Camden Council

Camden Council have announced their intention to take immediate action to removed external cladding from five tower blocks after tests revealed the outer cladding panels comprise aluminium panels with a polyethylene core.

According to the council, tests showed that contractors had fitted the wrong type of cladding and not what the council had specified.

These fire safety tests have been carried out following the disastrous Grenfell Tower fire in which it is believed at least 79 people died, according to latest figures from the Metropolitan Police.

An estimated 600 tower blocks across the country are currently being tested to establish whether their cladding is combustible.

After receiving results of independent testing of cladding on Chalcots Estate from the laboratory at the Building Research Establishment, Camden Council's Leader, Councillor Georgia Gould, has made the following statement:

Following last week’s tragic fire at Grenfell Tower, Camden Council immediately reviewed fire safety at all our high rise blocks. We knew we had set the highest standards but we weren’t prepared to take anything for granted and we were first in the queue to test the cladding on our blocks.

We have now received the results of independent testing of cladding on Chalcots Estate from the laboratory at the Building Research Establishment.

The arrangement of the cladding and insulation used on Camden Council’s buildings significantly differs from that on Grenfell Tower. It includes fire-resistant rock wool insulation designed to prevent the spread of fire and fire resistant sealant between floors, designed to stop a high-intensity flat fire from spreading to neighbouring flats. This arrangement previously contained a fire at a flat in Taplow block in 2012. These are significant and proven arrangements to stop the spread of fire.

The new results from the laboratory show that the outer cladding panels themselves are made up of aluminium panels with a polyethylene core.

Therefore the panels that were fitted were not to the standard that we had commissioned. In light of this, we will be informing the contractor that we will be taking urgent legal advice.

Whilst we are clear that our cladding design and insulation significantly differs to that at Grenfell Tower, the external cladding panels did not satisfy our independent laboratory testing or the high standards we set for contractors. Camden Council has decided it will immediately begin preparing to remove these external cladding panels from the five tower blocks on the Chalcots Estate. Camden Council will do whatever it takes to ensure our residents are reassured about the safety of their homes.

Until the panels have all been removed, we will carry out 24/7 fire safety patrols on the estate’s corridors to reassure residents and carry out enhanced fire safety checks. This additional assessment work includes a sweep of corridors to make sure they are clear of obstructions and anything that is potentially flammable. We will also be working with residents to test white goods (PAT testing), assessing fire doors in properties and we will be providing fire safety advice to residents.

We have set up an information point on Chalcots Estate staffed by our housing teams who will be highly visible to our residents over the coming days. We want any residents who have concerns or questions to come to the information point so we can help them.

We are working side-by-side with our housing groups and the London Fire Brigade and we remain ready to respond to any changes to national fire safety advice. We stand ready to fully support any national investigation into materials, building standards and safety regulations.

It’s vital for all of London’s residents who live in high-rise buildings, that we learn from investigations into what caused and exacerbated the tragic fire at Grenfell Tower.

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