UK: All building cladding samples tested failed fire safety

So far every sample of cladding from high-rise buildings that officials have tested in the wake of the Grenfell Tower disaster has failed tests for combustibility, raising the prospect of mass tenant evacuations.

Britain's fire-safety crisis expanded substantially Saturday as authorities said 34 high-rise apartment blocks across the country had cladding that failed fire safety tests.

Council sources said they would try to ensure that residents would be allowed to enter their homes alongside firefighters some time over the weekend to collect their belongings.

Residents have criticised the chaos the evacuation move has caused to their lives as they are housed in temporary accommodation and hotel rooms acquired by the local council.

Camden Council leader Georgia Gould told Sky News she was planning to knock on doors herself in a bid to persuade those remaining residents to take up the offer of alternative accommodation.

The towers were refurbished by Rydon - the same company involved in the multimillion pound refit of Grenfell Tower.

They were found to have similar cladding to that used on the Grenfell Tower, which contains material that can easily catch fire.

"A small section of a flat on the third and fourth floor was also damaged by the fire".

She added: "The last thing I want to do is force people out of their homes, and the conversations I have been having with residents in these buildings is that they are happy to work with us".

It added: "We are happy with WCHG's active and passive fire systems".

Housing Minister Alok Sharma refused to be drawn on whether the cladding used on the block was illegal. The renovations also didn't include the installation of an automatic sprinkler system.

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Samples are being sent to the Department for Communities and Local Government to be tested independently by fire experts.

Camden Council plans to remove external cladding on towers in Chalcots estate.

Testing potentially flammable material from high-rise towers should be pursued "urgently" by councils, a minister said, amid fears many more buildings are at risk.

The tower was reportedly found to have cladding panels with ACM.

However, the insulation behind the cladding was said to be highly fire-resistant Rockwool Duoslab.

"If there is a fire in another part of your building while you are inside your purpose-built flat or maisonette, and you're not affected by the fire stay put and call 999.

The Grenfell fire changes everything - we need to do everything we can to keep residents safe".

Authorities are sending the test results to landlords and fire services.

Attention has focused on the 24-story tower's external cladding material, which has been blamed for the rapid spread of that blaze.

Granville Point, Harpenmead Point and Templemead Point blocks were all reclad in 2012, Barnet Council said.

He said the authorities should be able to use information, such as that on mobile phones on the night, and data from government agencies, to work out roughly how many people were in the tower when the fire started.

  • Megan Austin