Six high-rise residential towers are to undergo additional safety checks after it emerged they were fitted with external cladding during refurbishment by the contractors who modernised Grenfell Tower prior to its destruction in an uncontrollable fire. The checks on buildings in the London boroughs of Camden and Newham were ordered amid growing questions about the widespread use of hi-tech insulation and metallic panelling on exterior walls to refurbish old high-rise towers.
MPs raised concerns in 1999
It has emerged that MPs raised concerns about the refurbishment technique, which has been linked to a number of fires in locations from Australia to France, as long ago as 1999 when a Parliamentary committee called for regulations to ensure that materials used were “entirely non-combustible”. Witnesses to the catastrophic fire at Grenfell Tower described how the blaze spread with terrifying speed across the building and appeared to follow the pattern of cladding fitted to the 24-storey tower in November 2015 as part of a £8.6m modernisation. Rydon Construction Ltd, the Sussex-based contractor in charge of the renovations, said the work had met all fire regulations, along with all building control and safety standards. Harley Facades Ltd, the sub-contractor which fitted the external panels, said in statement: “At this time, we are not aware of any link between the fire and the exterior cladding to the tower.”