Sunderland tower block cladding sent for tests after Grenfell Tower disaster

Grenfell Tower
Grenfell Tower
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Gentoo has sent samples of cladding from its high-rise blocks for safety testing in the wake of the Grenfell Tower disaster.

The move comes as police confirmed cladding and insulation encasing the Kensington block did not pass any fire-safety tests.

John Craggs

John Craggs

Metropolitan Police Detective Superintendent Fiona McCormack said tests on the building's material as part of the police investigation were 'small scale', but added: "All I can say at the moment is they (tiles and insulation) don't pass any safety tests.

"What we are being told at the moment by the Building Research Establishment is that the cladding and insulation failed all safety tests."

The revelation comes as a nationwide hunt for high-rise buildings with flammable cladding continues, with thousands of people finding their homes were potentially dangerous

The Government said at least 11 buildings across eight local authority areas in England were found to have flammable cladding.

Towers in Camden, Manchester and Plymouth are among the at-risk buildings, Communities and Local Government Secretary Sajid Javid said in a letter to MPs.

Hundreds of further buildings are being tested by the Government to see if they pose a fire threat.

Gentoo chief executive John Craggs said: "We have 23 high rise tower blocks, of which 20 have some form of cladding and insulation.

"The programme of cladding and insulation goes back some 20 years in the city, improving both the appearance and the thermal insulation of the properties.

"As we stated last week, none of the high rise blocks in Gentoo’s ownership have the same cladding and insulation as appears to be the case at Grenfell Tower.

"In addition, I can also confirm that the contractors and subcontractors, referred to in the tragedy, have not been used within our organisation.

"We have been advised by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) to submit samples of some of our cladding panels for testing to ensure that they meet current building regulations. We have complied with this request and await the outcome.

"We continue to work with Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service to ensure the ongoing safety of our customers, which is a key priority.”

Superintendent Fiona McCormack confirmed manslaughter charges are being considered by detectives investigating the Grenfell Tower fire as it emerged the structure had failed fire safety tests.

Documents and materials had been seized from a "number of organisations", she said: "We are looking at every criminal offence from manslaughter onwards, we are looking at every health and safety and fire safety offences and we are reviewing every company at the moment involved in the building and refurbishment of Grenfell Tower."