34 tower blocks fail fire safety tests

Toni Houston
June 29, 2017

Dozens of high-rise apartment towers fail fire safety tests in the aftermath of London's Grenfell tragedy.

Camden Council leader Georgia Gould said officials would visit residents still in their homes, as they required them to leave the blocks before work on making the buildings safe could begin.

Samples of the cladding are being sent to the Department for Communities and Local Government to be tested independently by fire experts.

Suspicion has fallen on the cladding installed on the outside of Grenfell and urgent checks have found such material used on 60 other residential buildings has failed fire tests.

Camden Council in North London announced it would immediately evacuate four blocks in Chalcot Estate in Swiss Cottage on Friday night after tests showed it had the same cladding as well as a series of fire safety breaches inside.

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.

Gould said that evacuating the five tower blocks was a "really, really hard decision" but needed to be done while urgent first safety work, which is due to take three to four weeks, was completed. That is because they've adopted the International Building Code, which requires cladding for tall buildings to pass a rigorous test developed by the National Fire Protection Association called "NFPA 285".

"Our committee will be reviewing building safety standards in full, particularly in highly-dense urban areas with many high rises".

Authorities in London evacuated roughly 650 apartments in a high-rise complex overnight, citing fears that the complex bore numerous safety issues that Grenfell Tower did.

"All victims, irrespective of their immigration status, will be able to access the services they need", she said.

Speaking before the latest figures were released, Mr Javid said: "We expect that authorities and landlords are very sensibly giving the highest priority to buildings with which they have most concern".

The Metropolitan Police also said cladding attached to the 24-story public housing project during a recent renovation failed safety tests conducted by investigators, and that they have seized documents from a number of organizations.

The decision to evacuate the buildings came after apartment blocks across Britain were inspected to see if they had similar fire hazards as the Grenfell Tower. A further 11 areas, accounting for 27 of the unsafe buildings, have yet to be named.

Meanwhile, one in five households that Camden Council was trying to evacuate were refusing to leave with borough putting aside £500,000 for residents' hotel bills while safety work is carried out.

Mount Wise Tower Estate - Plymouth Community Homes said it will be removing the combustible elements of cladding from the three 16-storey blocks as soon as possible.

Other reports by Ligue1talk

Discuss This Article