Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to the newest version of your browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of Construction News, please enable cookies in your browser.

Welcome to the Construction News site. As we have relaunched, you will have to sign in once now and agree for us to use cookies, so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Camden evacuates 800 high-rise homes over cladding safety fears

Camden Council has begun evacuating residents from more than 800 homes in five tower blocks in the borough due to safety fears over cladding.

The councils has said it has taken the decision to decant people from all five tower blocks on the Chalcots Estate and is believed to have block-booked hotels across London to provide temporary accommodation.

A council statement said: “As a result of ongoing checks the decision has been taken to decant residents from all five tower blocks at the Chalcots Estate.

“We have council staff on site providing information and guidance to residents who are being provided with temporary accommodation.

“Where residents can stay with family and friends we are encouraging them to do this. But if this isn’t possible we are providing temporary accommodation.”

Camden Council leader Georgia Gould said: “Camden Council is absolutely determined to ensure that our residents are safe and we have promised them that we will work with them, continue to act swiftly and be open and transparent.

“Last night the chief executive and I led a public meeting to listen to the concerns held by residents of the Chalcots estate. Upon hearing from residents we immediately instructed a joint fire inspection with the London Fire Brigade.

“Today the London Fire Brigade completed a joint inspection of the blocks with Camden Council technical experts.

“Together we decided that the Taplow block needs to be temporarily decanted while we undertake urgent fire safety works so that residents can be fully assured of their safety. This means that we need to move residents from their homes and into temporary accommodation.”

Yesterday the council announced that it is taking legal advice after tests on the cladding 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.

Ms 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.

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.