The Chalcots Estate evacuation

On 23 June 2017, Camden Council was advised by the London Fire Brigade to evacuate Bray, Burnham, Dorney and Taplow towers on the Chalcots Estate. This was because the type of cladding on the outside of the blocks failed fire safety tests completed by the Government.

The London Fire Brigade recommended that the Council temporarily evacuate the blocks to complete essential works to make them safe. The Council agreed a package of works with the London Fire Brigade that would bring the blocks to the required standard of fire safety and allow residents to return to their homes, including removing the cladding from the blocks and completing fire stopping works.

Residents were able to move home four weeks after the evacuation, once the fire safety works had been completed. The cladding started to be removed and fire stopping in residents’ homes was carried out and a waking watch patrolled the estate 24 hours a day, seven days a week while the cladding was being removed.

All cladding was removed by January 2018.

Fire safety works at the Chalcots Estate

Since the evacuation, Camden Council has completed works to improve fire safety at the Chalcots Estate, including:

  • Removing all cladding from the outside of the five blocks
  • Firestopping in flats and communal areas 
  • Installing smoke alarms and heat sensors in each home
  • Replacing the front doors of each flat with a 60 minute fire-resistant door 
  • Repairing ventilation grills and making sure the vents work in communal areas

Keeping Chalcots residents safe

The fire safety measures to keep residents safe at the Chalcots include:

  • Smoke alarms in each home which are tested when the boiler service takes place every year – residents should check that their smoke alarms are working each month.
  • Fire resistant front doors with 60 minutes of fire protection are installed
  • Smoke detectors in communal hallways trigger automatic opening ventilation systems (AOVs) to clear smoke from communal areas in the event of a fire – the smoke detectors don’t make a sound
  • Annual independent fire risk assessments of each block, and regular planned and unplanned checks from the London Fire Brigade throughout the year
  • Visual checks of all internal communal areas are carried out every two weeks by the quality inspectors who also offer home visits for any residents who have concerns about fire safety in their flats
  • Regular maintenance checks of communal smoke detectors and the automated opening ventilation system 
  • The blocks have been fully fire stopped and independently certified (sealing up any openings where cables and pipes go through walls to stop fire and smoke spreading) 
  • Firestopping has been completed inside most flats and work is underway to complete firestopping in the remaining few flats.

Tips on how to keep safe in your home

The Chalcots Independent Review

To learn lessons from the evacuation, the Leader of the Council, Councillor Georgia Gould, commissioned an independent review of the circumstances of the evacuation.

The review looked at documents and evidence gathered from council staff, the London Fire Brigade and residents. Residents were given the opportunity to directly feed into the review to share how the evacuation impacted them.

Marian Harrington, the Chair of the Independent Review, presented her final report of phase one of the review to Camden Council in June 2018.

Read the Independent Review