Laura Sharman 29 November 2019

London council sues contractors for £130m over ‘fire safety failings’

London council sues contractors for £130m over ‘fire safety failings’ image

Camden Council has launched legal action against a group of contractors over ‘multiple fire safety failings’ that led to the evacuation of the Chalcots Estate two years ago.

The council is seeking £130m costs from contractor PFIC (Partners for Improvement in Camden) and its principal subcontractors, who refurbished and maintained the estate under a private finance initiative.

The council is looking to recover the cost of the evacuation and the repairs needed to improve fire safety such as the removal of removal of combustible aluminium composite material cladding from the blocks’ outer façade.

A 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.’

The council received £80m from Government in October 2018 to fund the replacement of the cladding, but said this only covers part of the costs.

‘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,’ the spokesman added.

Photo: © Julian Osley

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