26 June 2017 | Herpreet Kaur Grewal
The number of high-rise buildings that have failed a combustibility test is now 60 across 25 local authority areas, says the government.
Sajid Javid MP, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, published a statement over the weekend detailing the work being undertaken to ensure the safety of residents in high-rise buildings following the Grenfell Tower tragedy.
Cladding samples from 60 high-rise blocks in 25 local authorities examined by the Building Research Establishment have failed a combustibility test.
Javid said: "All landlords and fire and rescue services for these local authorities have been alerted to the results and we are in touch with all of them to support and monitor follow-up action."
The table below shows the distribution of buildings, naming those areas where it is known that the local authority or landlord has informed affected residents that a building's cladding has failed the test.
Camden Council in London is removing cladding from its Chalcots Estate tower blocks in Swiss Cottage after receiving results of independent testing.
Councillor Georgia Gould, Leader of Camden Council, said: "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."
She also said that 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".
A statement from the Local Government Association, which represents 370 councils in England and Wales, said: "This is clearly an unsettling time for communities whose cladding samples have already come back as combustible or who are awaiting test results. We have been assured that tests on cladding samples are being processed so results should be back quickly.
"Councils are contacting residents living in tower blocks whose cladding has failed tests and working with fire services to establish what action needs to be taken. Councils are also supporting social and other landlords in their area to help them in their work to ensure the safety of their residents when cladding on their buildings fail tests.
"Where cladding fails the test, this will not necessarily mean moving residents from tower blocks. In Camden, the decision to evacuate was based on fire inspectors' concerns about a combination of other fire hazards together with the cladding.
"Working with fire service experts to assess risks, a number of councils have already introduced other fire safety measures in buildings, such as 24-hour a day warden patrols, when advice from the fire service is clear that this will mitigate against fire risks ahead of the removal of cladding.
"For those areas still waiting for results of tests on aluminium composite material (ACM) cladding, our advice to them is to prepare contingency plans so they can take any measures needed quickly.
"Anyone living in a high-rise building can be reassured that their council will act on any advice from the fire service to ensure their safety."
The LGA has a team of staff working closely with councils and the Department for Communities and Local Government.