Chalcots Estate: Multi-million-pound refurb for five tower blocks evacuated after Grenfell

Five tower blocks evacuated in the days after the Grenfell Tower disaster are set to undergo a multi-million- pound refurbishment.

All windows on the high-rise blocks on the Chalcots estate in Swiss ­Cottage are due to be replaced after they were found not to meet ­requirements.

New fireproof cladding will also be fitted to the outside of the buildings, according to plans drawn up by ­Camden Council

It comes after inspectors found “combustible materials” in the curtain walls, a metal structure which contains the windows and the insulation panel. 

The Standard yesterday revealed that a leaked interim report into the Grenfell disaster, in which 71 died, found that poorly designed and built window frames allowed the flames to spread, among other failings. 

Gaps in the structures and the use of combustible materials were blamed.

Days after the blaze at Grenfell on June 14 last year, hundreds of Chalcots residents were forced to leave their homes after checks revealed that cladding on the blocks could be a fire hazard.

The cladding had been fitted by Rydon, the main contractor on the £8.7 million refurbishment of Grenfell, completed a year before the disaster. 

Work to remove the cladding on the Chalcots estate finished in January.

A report prepared for Camden council’s planning committee reads: “Detailed design work on the new cladding system has found that the standard of workmanship within the curtain wall assembly is variable.

“The most significant observations relate to structural fixing ­irregularities, sill heights that do not meet the regulatory minimum guidance, failed hardware to window systems and the presence of unsatisfactory material behind fixing brackets and spandrel panels.

“To ensure the removal of all ­combustible materials it will be ­necessary to remove the existing curtain walling on all five towers. 

“In replacing the curtain wall ­system a better insulated envelope will also be achieved. The need to replace the curtain wall system requires replacement of windows across the five towers.”

Replacing the cladding on the five blocks alone is expected to cost more than £20 million.

The refurbishment is expected to be approved at a Camden council planning committee meeting on Thursday.

A Camden Council spokesman said: “Camden Council is committed to delivering a new standard of resident safety in its homes. Since June last year, we have completely removed the cladding from towers on the Chalcots Estate, carried out fire-stopping works, upgraded fire doors so that they provide at least 60 minutes of resistance to smoke and fire and installed fire and smoke alarms within flats.

“Residents returned to their homes in July last year and the London Fire Brigade confirmed they were satisfied with works – however, we want to continue to improve safety and so are replacing all the windows and their metal frames, firstly consulting with residents on designs, and then installing new windows by summer 2019.”

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