The Building Research Establishment (BRE) has reported that 60 high-rise blocks have now failed fire cladding safety tests following the Grenfell Tower blaze that has left over 70 people presumed dead.
Every cladding sample collected so far from high-rises in 25 local authority areas has failed tests for combustibility. Up to 600 buildings will be tested in total across the UK.
Salford Council has already started taking action by removing the aluminium composite cladding on nine high-rise blocks within its constituency. Elsewhere, Camden Council has instructed residents of four north London tower blocks to vacate their homes so work can be carried out to secure the premises.
Sajiv Javid, the communities secretary, has commented: “We expect that authorities and landlords are very sensibly giving the highest priority to buildings with which they have most concern.
“But we should not be in the position where buildings have such cladding on them. How this occurred – and preventing this from happening again – is likely to be a key question for the public inquiry.”
It has been reported that the Government will face costs of more than £600m to replace the flammable cladding on housing blocks if all 600 buildings fail the security checks, with costs expected to increase further if residents have to be evacuated.
However, the communities secretary has said that evacuations will only be carried out where there is the most serious risk. He added: “The decision by Camden Council to evacuate four of the five towers on the Chalcots Estate was because the failed testing of the external cladding was compounded by multiple other fire safety failures which the fire inspection team found within the buildings.”
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