Council sues Camden tower block contractors

Aaron Morby 10 months ago
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Camden Council is taking High Court legal action to recover costs from contractors involved with the Chalcots Estate tower blocks upgrade.

After the Grenfell disaster, the council was forced to evacuate residents from the tower blocks and fix multiple fire safety failings, including cladding replacement.

The claim has been submitted against the PFI consortium Partners for Improvement in Camden – currently in liquidation – and Rydon Construction, Rydon Maintenance, Faithful + Gould Ltd. and United Living South.

The council is seeking to recover costs in relation to the evacuation of Chalcots residents in June 2017, the employment of fire marshals and security staff during the evacuation and beyond, its repairs to make good inadequate internal fire stopping, inadequate fire doors and other serious defects inside the Chalcots towers and the removal of combustible aluminium composite material cladding from the blocks’ outer façade.

While the claims are processed, a £90m programme of work with new principal contractor Wates to complete work on the Chalcots Estate will continue.

A Camden Council spokesman said: “We were let down by PFIC, Rydon and other contractors.

“The PFI agreement for refurbishment and maintenance of the Chalcots Estate was entered into in good faith and fundamental to this was our expectation that the Chalcots towers would be safe for our residents.

“We should not have been put in a position where we were left with no option but to evacuate residents from their homes on a Friday night.

“Our absolute priority is the safety of our residents so, upon discovering serious deficiencies in the work and materials used by our contractors, we stepped in with new contractors, to complete works that would allow Chalcots residents to start to return safely to their homes within four weeks and, within six months, had fully removed cladding from the towers.

“The costs of the supporting residents during the evacuation and level of work required at the Chalcots made a major impact on our reserves. Clearly, it would not be right for residents and, by extension, the public purse, to foot the bill for what has been a private contractor failure.

“In October 2018, we secured £80m from the Government to fund the replacement of cladding on the Chalcots Estate. However, this only covers part of the costs and still leaves us with substantial losses that we are determined to recover.

“Today’s claims are submitted following two years’ examination of historical agreements, contractual responsibilities and works completed during the period in which we had a contractual relationship with PFIC.

“Following this review, we are clear about where responsibility lies for the range of fire safety defects at the Chalcots which led to the evacuation and its associated costs.”

 

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