Grenfell Tower firm carried out work on Swiss Cottage estate

All five high rise blocks with more than 700 homes are being evacuated immediately

All five high rise blocks with more than 700 homes are being evacuated immediately - Credit: Archant

Camden council is carrying out extra fire safety checks on tower blocks in the aftermath of the Grenfell Tower fire in West London. It has also emerged that the contractors which refurbished Grenfell Tower last year completed work on high rise blocks in Swiss Cottage.

Smoke rises after the Grenfell Tower fire on Wednesday. Picture: AP Photo/Matt Dunham

Smoke rises after the Grenfell Tower fire on Wednesday. Picture: AP Photo/Matt Dunham - Credit: AP

As the cause of the fire is now under investigation, there is no evidence that contractors are at fault or responsible for the blaze and bosses stressed that the work at Grenfell had been signed off by the council with all the required building regulations certificates.

A public inquiry has been launched into the fire which has so far left 17 dead, 37 injured with hundreds still missing. Hundreds of survivors have been left homeless.

Tragically the death toll is expected to rise with Fire Brigade sources at the scene estimating it could be in the hundreds.

In 2006 Sussex firm Rydon started work on a PFI contract worth £66million to complete refurbishment and maintenance work at Camden’s Chalcots Estate, in Adelaide Road, which included external cladding to five tower blocks.

The same company completed an £8.6m refurbishment of Grenfell Tower’s exterior last year which also included cladding.

The Chalcots contract formed part of a £150m deal over 15 years between the council and Rydon to refurbish housing stock including four 22-storey and one 18-storey tower blocks comprising 711 flats.

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A statement on Rydon’s website says: “The Rydon team worked extensively with the London Borough of Camden to make the project deliverable and affordable through offering value engineering solutions, reviewing whole life costs and consulting with residents.”

The work – which also included work on replacement windows, electrical risers and rewiring – was completed in October 2009.

Rydon was also awarded a 15-year contract to provide for the maintenance of the estate.

In the aftermath of the blaze on Wednesday morning, Camden housing officers were touring high rise estates talking to tenants and leaseholders.

Camden council leader Georgia Gould wrote to tenants and leaseholders to reassure them extra checks would be made on properties in the light of the Grenfell tragedy.

She wrote: “We know that Camden tenants and leaseholders living in and nearby high-rise blocks may be concerned at this time. We therefore wanted to write to you to provide some reassurance about residential fire safety in Camden.

“We have confidence that our fire safety procedures are appropriate but, as always, after an incident such as this additional checks will be made.

“Camden has an ongoing programme of investment in fire protection and we carry out regular fire risk assessments on all buildings, with specific assessments and support for vulnerable people and families. We also work closely with the London Fire Brigade who provide important fire prevention advice and we will be ready respond to any new advice that may emerge from today’s incident.

“Housing Officers and caretaking teams have been on tower block walkabouts to talk to tenants and leaseholders. This work will continue over the coming days and we will continue to work with you through your forums.”

Robert Bond, CEO, of Rydon Group, said in statement: “We were shocked to hear of the devastating fire at Grenfell Tower and our immediate thoughts are with those that have been affected by the incident, their families, relatives and friends.

“Rydon completed a partial refurbishment of Grenfell Towerin the summer of 2016 for Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation on behalf of the council. The project met all required building regulations and handover took place when the completion notice was issued by the department of building control, the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.

“We are working with the relevant authorities and emergency services and fully support their enquiries into the causes of this fire.”

Anyone with concerns about friends or relatives at Grenfell Tower should contact the police emergency telephone number on 0800 0961 233.

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