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Camden considers legal action after cladding fails safety tests

Camden Council is considering legal action against Rydon after it was found that cladding on five of its tower blocks was not to the same standard the council had commissioned.

The council is taking legal advice after tests on the cladding of five towers by the Building Research Establishment found that the outer cladding on the Chalcot Estate towers had been made up of aluminium panels with a polyethylene core.

The Chalcot towers were refurbished as part of a £150m project which saw Rydon act as main contractor on the scheme that was designed by architecture practice HTA. Harley Facades provided the cladding for the scheme. 

According to Rydon, the contract value for the refurbishment totalled £66m. The estate includes four 22-storey towers and another 18-storey tower close to Swiss Cottage.

The works included overhauling external roots, fitting external thermal rainscreen cladding, new aluminium thermally broken windows as well as refurbishment of the leasehold and tenanted flats in the blocks.

Camden has also begun removing cladding from the towers with immediate effect, and has sought to reassure tenants in the blocks of their safety.

In a statement, Camden Council leader Georgia Gould said: “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.”

Camden arranged to have the outer cladding on towers on the estate tested in the wake of the tragic fire that engulfed the 24-storey Grenfell Tower in west London last week.

Harley Facades declined to comment.

Camden Council and Rydon have been contacted for comment.

Camden considers legal action after cladding fails safety tests

Readers' comments (1)

  • Again Camden council didn't check that the materials tested and they commissioned were not the ones that were used, isn't it amazing these council award contracts funded by ratepayers and have no process in place to ensure the correct materials were used, I wonder if the project management in place checked anything other than to ensure the correct and compliant PPE was used!!!
    This is the way the industry appears to be focusing these days, just take an honest look at the industry it's everywhere now, no supervision , no clerk works what have we just seen with schools in Scotland

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