70 tower blocks fail safety tests in wake of Grenfell. Here's what we know …

70 tower blocks fail safety tests in wake of Grenfell. Here's what we know …

More than 70 buildings have failed Government fire safety tests brought about in the wake of the Grenfell Tower fire tragedy.

Here is what we know so far.

The material that was used on the exterior of Grenfell Tower

Grenfell Tower in west London after a fire engulfed the 24-storey building on Wednesday morning.
The cladding didn’t pass any safety tests (David Mirzoeff/PA)

Grenfell Tower was recently refurbished with Reynobond PE cladding, made by US firm Arconic. It consists of Reynolux-coated aluminium sheets over a Reynobond polyethylene core, suspected to have accelerated the spread of the deadly blaze on June 14.

Tests carried out as part of their investigation found the cladding and the insulation “don’t pass any safety tests”, police said. The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) has asked local authorities to send in samples from high rises for testing.

The buildings that have been tested

Of 600 buildings with some form of cladding, at least 75 have submitted samples which have failed the Government tests. At least one of these said they were awaiting further feedback from the DCLG as to whether they need to remove the cladding. Other local authorities have removed cladding proactively ahead of the test results.

Cladding has been removed from Whitebeam Court in Pendleton, Greater Manchester (Peter Byrne/PA)
Cladding has been removed from Whitebeam Court in Pendleton, Greater Manchester (Peter Byrne/PA)

The areas that are affected

High rises in at least 26 local authority areas including several London boroughs, Manchester, Plymouth, Portsmouth, Doncaster, Norwich, Sunderland, Stockton-on-Tees, and Liverpool are affected.

The people that have been evacuated

Concerns over fire safety triggered the mass evacuation of a north London estate on Friday, forcing thousands of residents from their homes. The occupants of 600 flats on the Chalcots Estate were being moved into temporary accommodation over the weekend.

The testing

Chalcots Estate in Camden was evacuated (David Mirzoeff/PA)
Chalcots Estate in Camden was evacuated (David Mirzoeff/PA)

It is understood the combustibility test, which no building has yet passed, grades the sample on a fire-resistance scale of one to three, with those in two and three being considered a fail.

Sajid Javid explained to the Commons: “The combustibility test has three categories rated one to three and it is judged that cladding material in categories two or three does not meet the requirements for limited combustibility in building regulations.”

Each test is believed to take a number of hours, and councils are informed immediately of the results. Housing Minister Alok Sharma assured the BBC the Government was “literally working around the clock” to test samples.

Why it’s taking so long

A man lays flowers outside Notting Hill Methodist Church
A man lays flowers outside Notting Hill Methodist Church (Jonathan Brady/PA)

The Government previously said it could test around 100 samples a day. A spokesman for Theresa May said they were nowhere near reaching that number. Ministers have suggested the delay is down to councils not producing the material quickly enough.

What else is being checked

Hospitals and schools will also be tested to make sure they are not encased in combustible cladding, Downing Street said.

More in this Section

Louisiana sues California over alligator banLouisiana sues California over alligator ban

John McDonnell to quit frontline politics following Labour defeatJohn McDonnell to quit frontline politics following Labour defeat

Former Sudan leader al-Bashir jailed for two years over corruptionFormer Sudan leader al-Bashir jailed for two years over corruption

Jeremy Corbyn’s sons pay tribute to their ‘honest’ and ‘humble’ fatherJeremy Corbyn’s sons pay tribute to their ‘honest’ and ‘humble’ father


Lifestyle

Want to be cultured this Christmas? From TV to podcasts to books, Ed Power has the definite list of everything you missed this year - so you can curl up on the couch and catch upThe definite list of everything you missed this year

Artist Ciara Rodgers teaches older people how to rediscover their creativity and regain confidence, says Rowena WalshBrush with art: Discovering your creative side in later life

Furniture, paintings, jewellery and silver are on offer at James Adam in Dublin, writes Des O’SullivanAll set for home run: See what's on offer at the James Adam sale in Dublin

It’s not too late to hunt out a unique gift. Des O’Sullivan previews sales in the lead-up to the festive seasonA flurry of auctions in Munster sets the scene for Christmas

More From The Irish Examiner