The Grenfell fire has focused global attention on the construction and maintenance practices of high-rise social housing in the United Kingdom. In news guaranteed to keep the issue in the public eye for quite some time, the U.K. government announced that additional towers were clad with unsafe material, similar to the flammable Reynobond that accelerated the fire.
As reported in The Architect’s Journal, the U.K. government said that tests have found combustible cladding on at least seven tower blocks in four different areas so far. A total of 600 buildings with similar cladding are being tested, with 100 samples a day being examined to see which are unsafe.
The tests raise the question of where residents of tower blocks deemed unsafe may live, and what legal actions will be taken against contractors and government officials.
Buildings already discovered to have the unsafe cladding, such as Chalcots Estate in north London, are enforcing more strict fire control restrictions and have been placed under 24/7 observations by safety teams. Workers are already removing cladding from some buildings in Camden. The Independent estimates “thousands” may have to leave their homes.
Prime Minister Theresa May has faced criticism from some UK politicians because she hasn’t guaranteed the government will pay for repairs and replacements of social housing found to be at-risk. May made a statement earlier today at the House of Commons, saying the government will test the cladding on all “relevant tower blocks” and that local fire services have been informed.