34 tower blocks fail fire safety tests

34 tower blocks fail fire safety tests

On Friday some 4000 residents were forced to evacuate their homes at the Chalcots Estate towers in Camden, north London, after the fire brigade ruled that their blocks were unsafe.

Sixty samples of cladding used on tower blocks in the United Kingdom and sent for testing following the Grenfell Tower tragedy have failed fire safety tests, the British Department for Communities and Local Government confirmed on Sunday.

Three high-rise buildings in Salford have failed the government’s cladding fire tests following the Grenfell Tower disaster, said the city mayor.

The government has collected 34 samples of external cladding – panels widely used to insulate buildings and improve their appearance – and all failed a “combustibility test”, Community Secretary Sajid Javid said.

Georgina Gould, the leader of Camden Council, is now advising “in the strongest possible terms” that residents who are still inside the 22-storey buildings on the Chalcots Estate should leave.

RESIDENTS of a London estate that has been declared unsafe claimed yesterday that they were being intimidated by security guards ordering them to leave.

She added: “The last thing I want to do is force people out of their homes, and the conversations I have been having with residents in these buildings is that they are happy to work with us”.

Those who have evacuated are now preparing to spend a second night out of their homes.

“They should act now, get the fire service in, check the buildings that they think may be affected, put in place mitigation measures if required, or, as in the case of Camden, if they need to evacuate, that needs to happen”.

The massive operation to test tower blocks follows the Grenfell Tower inferno earlier this month that is presumed to have killed 79 people after it spread at shocking speed.

Refurbishment of the building, including cladding, was overseen by Rydon, the company involved in the refit of Grenfell Tower.

Around 600 buildings across the country are believed to have similar fire risks, of which at least 20 have been confirmed to have the risky and unauthorised cladding.

“We are told they can do 100 a day – that should be the number they are meeting”, he said. The fact that all of the samples failed the test is sure to raise new questions for regulators and authorities who allowed the use of the high-risk material on buildings across the country. “That is absolutely clear”, he told Sky News.

However, the government’s latest figures suggest that only the results of 60 tests had been received since its announcement that it would open its facilities up to councils on 19 June.

The Government has also stressed that the failure in testing of the cladding would not necessarily mean that a building would have to be evacuated.