Camden Council sues Grenfell contractor for cladding costs

Camden Council sues Grenfell contractor for cladding costs

THE COUNCIL has sued Rydon and other firms for funds to cover its costs for removing and replacing combustible cladding on five of its own high rise blocks.

The Guardian reported on the beginning of court based claims from Camden Council against Rydon – the contractor that refurbished Grenfell Tower prior to the June 2017 fire – for £130m for work on ‘five other tower blocks’ that had similarly combustible cladding, ‘because the government has allegedly not released enough money to cover the costs of making them safe’.

Rydon’s construction and maintenance arms, and a number of other firms ‘originally involved’ in refurbishment works at Camden’s Chalcots estate – including Faithful+Gould, United Living South and the currently being liquidated Partners for Improvement in Camden – are the subject of the councils claims, totalling £130m, ‘to cover the costs of stripping combustible cladding, employing fire marshals and fixing inadequate internal fire stopping measures and fire doors’.

The government had previously provided the council with £80m to cover the costs of works, after over 1,000 residents of the estate had to be evacuated post Grenfell, but The Guardian noted that this amount ‘is not enough to make the buildings safe’ according to the council, and if successful the action ‘could pave the way for dozens of other councils and social landlords to sue builders and developers’. The case is being heard in the High Court’s technology and construction division.

A council spokesman commented: ‘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 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.’