Frequently asked questions

Building works

What works did the fire brigade ask to be undertaken to make the block safe?

Following advice from the London Fire Brigade we agreed to a programme of works to make the Chalcots blocks safe for residents, these were:

  • Communal area fire doors – we agreed to assess each door and to upgrade or replace them to meet a higher fire safety standard
  • Flat entrance doors – we agreed to fitting overhead door closers to all doors and checking their fire safety standard, repairing or replacing as necessary
  • Stairwell doors – we agreed to fit smoke seals or strips to door edges and to  make sure doors fit properly to help contain smoke and fire
  • Making sure that compartmentation is maintained, e.g. fire stopping of services where pipework or cables pass between communal areas and dwellings
  • Assessments of basement and garage areas to make sure compartmentation and fire stopping is sufficient
  • Assessments of ventilation grilles and checks to ensure Automatic Opening Vents are working properly, carrying out any repairs that are required

These works are being approved by independent building control inspectors. You will not be called back to your home unless the works are signed off on your floor.

Why hasn’t my door been replaced? 

In order to ensure you can return to your home quickly we are temporarily upgrading rather than replacing existing front doors, making alterations to ensure all doors include smoke seals around the doorframe, fire rated letterboxes and door closers. In the event of a fire, these works will extend the length of time it can be contained within a flat.

Once everyone is back in their homes, we will begin working to replace all front doors with new, ‘secure by design’ fire doors. The current works to your front door will make sure the building has the London Fire Brigade’s required fire safety levels. 

We will need access to your flat to complete works to your front door, therefore we will be contacting you to arrange a suitable time to complete the works. If we have not yet contacted you please call 020 7974 4444 (option 7). 

What about the other works including alterations to the outside of my block?

After essential works are complete and residents have moved back into their homes, we will be undertaking works to further improve the standard of fire safety. This includes fitting the new ‘secure by design’ fire doors to every flat. 

We will also visit all residents, provide them with fire blankets and carry out Portable Appliance Testing. 

Camden committed to remove cladding panels from the Chalcots Estate when the cladding panels failed Building Research Establishment (BRE) combustibility tests in June. Further whole system testing by BRE has reinforced the failure of the outer cladding panels confirming that the cladding panels are combustible. 

We are continuing with our plan to remove and replace all cladding panels as soon as possible.   The active measures to make sure our residents are safe will continue until we have a new safe cladding system in place. You can read a full leader’s statement on our cladding systems here.

It is important to stress that London Fire Brigade are satisfied with the remedial works undertaken so far, and agree that the blocks are safe for you to return. There will also be fire marshals on site to provide extra reassurance whilst we undertake the wider schedule of works. 

Why are residents being allowed to return on a floor-by-floor basis rather than when the whole block has been deemed safe? 

The London Fire Brigade agreed that residents can return floor-by-floor as each completed floor will have improved containment and protection from smoke and fire.

The purpose of the essential fire safety works is to extend the amount of time smoke or fire can be contained within a flat, a corridor or a lobby area. Once works are complete to each floor, if a fire broke out, escape routes and communal areas are less likely to fill with smoke or fire. 

Who has signed off the completed works in my tower block? 

Independent building control officers from Redbridge, Lambeth and Westminster have confirmed and signed off the quality of works. On Tuesday 11 July, the London Fire Brigade visited the Chalcots Estate to review the works and confirmed that they have been completed in accordance with their advice.  

A spokesperson from the London Fire Brigade said:

“Our highly trained Inspecting Officers, have been working very closely with Camden Council since it was discovered that essential works were required in these four buildings on the Chalcots Estate. We subsequently agreed a list of works required which would improve the general fire precautions in the building such as to mitigate the risks from fire.

"There will be further work to undertake but the Brigade is content that sufficient progress has been made to allow a phased re-occupation of the buildings. The phasing of the re-occupation will be dependent on the completion of works to each floor of the buildings, starting with the lower floors.”

How can I be sure my home is still safe?

The works we have undertaken on your block meet with the requirements of the London Fire Brigade. Moving forward we will be undertaking further fire safety works and even more rigorous fire safety checks to ensure the highest possible standard of fire safety in your block, whilst we undertake these works fire marshals will remain on site to provide you with an extra level of safety and reassurance.  

Why has my security gate been removed from my front door?

In order to complete the urgent fire safety works in your block we have removed security gates from front doors. We have done this in order to bring your property up to fire safety standards and to satisfy the sign off requirements of our independent building control inspectors.

In the event of a fire, security gates can block your escape and increase the amount of time it takes for fire fighters to access your property. Outward opening gates also pose a risk to your neighbours, creating obstacles to escape in communal areas of your block. This risk and the need to address it is highlighted in London Fire Brigade advice on security gates and fire safety.  

As part of our wider scheme of works, we will be replacing all front doors with new ‘secure by design’ PAS 24 certified fire doors. These doors will include a dual-bolt Yale lock, a three-point deadlock and have been extensively tested to ensure they stand up to both fire and physical attack. We expect these doors to be delivered and to begin being installed within the next 8-10 weeks.

The housing department will safely store any removed security gates unless you choose to retain them yourself. There will also be extra security and fire marshals on site to provide you with extra reassurance whilst we carry out the wider schedule of works. 

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