Chalcots look to public for funds for independent building inspection as cladding fails second safety test

PUBLISHED: 12:31 03 August 2017 | UPDATED: 13:13 03 August 2017

Dorney tower on the Chalcots Estate in Camden where residents have been evacuated over fire safety concerns in the wake of the Grenfell disaster

Dorney tower on the Chalcots Estate in Camden where residents have been evacuated over fire safety concerns in the wake of the Grenfell disaster

PA Wire/PA Images

Chalcots residents have set up a crowdfunding page to pay for an independent building inspection amid continued fears over the towers’ fire safety.

While Camden Council says it has completed all the works that necessitated the emergency evacuation on June 23, many residents feel the work has been done “shoddily” and that the blocks remain unsafe. This view was corroborated by independent fire safety expert Arnold Tarling, who slammed the condition of the buildings and said the building inspectors – from Westminster and Lambeth councils – who signed off the works were ‘on another planet’.

Now residents are aiming to raise £3000 from public donations to pay for an official fire inspection from Mr Tarling’s firm of chartered surveyors, Hindwoods. Much of the cost of a two-day inspection will be covered by legal aid, but the £3000 will make up the difference.

“We as residents feel that it is not safe to return to our flats as we have seen evidence that these works have not been done properly and to the right standard,” the crowdfunding page reads. “We also felt that these works being signed off by different local authorities does not provide the impartiality that you would have if it was done by an approved inspector with no ties to any local authority or government.”

Safety concerns have meanwhile been exacerbated after cladding used on the Chalcots towers failed a second round of testing by the Department for Communities and Local Government yesterdat, reportedly bursting into flames in a matter of seconds.

Camden Council responded to the tests by noting that it still intended to replace the cladding, but was unable to provide a timeframe pending further technical information on the tests from DCLG.

“We made a commitment to residents to remove the cladding panels on the Chalcots and that commitment remains. This decision was based on the results of tests in June that showed that the outer cladding panels on the Chalcots towers are combustible,” said leader Cllr Georgia Gould.

“We are yet to receive a full technical briefing from the Government but we have been informed that these further test results don’t tell us anything new and they support our decision. We will of course follow any additional safety guidance that is recommended.

“We continue to take active measures to make sure our residents are safe and we’ll continue with our plan to remove and replace cladding panels as soon as we can.”

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