design build facades Design Options for
Chalcots Estate

‘Past performance is the best indicator of future performance’

The UK got cladding wrong on a massive scale. It took Government intervention to impose non-combustibility on the industry, thank you. The same industry is now in the process of investing huge sums ‘putting cladding right’, if this sounds risky it’s because it is risky!

Please see the following Chalcots case study to evidence how the UK is getting the re-cladding wrong, making the same mistake of using flawed procurement known in the industry as  design and dump . This is a hybrid process where designs and products are effectively dumped on the Contractor who has no real choice in the matter and yet, in theory, becomes responsible for both the designs and product chosen by others! This is obviously wrong, a major flaw that we assert creates ambiguity that leads to project failure.

Chalcots Case Study; Our tender on 07-10-21 to re-clad 4No Chalcots Estate Towers raised the following serious concerns about the Camden (LBC) prescribed design and product selection:

  • Overheating:the LBC design increases glass and provides minimal ventilation causing the building to overheat as per this report, creating a health hazard for residents and failing to meet TM59 standards by c.20%.
  • Safety:the LBC design requires a fully enclosed scaffold to carry out the high-risk activity of removing ‘external walls’ to occupied, high rise flats.
  • Past Project Reference: the LBC design is novel, never previously used and/or tested as a bespoke, standalone system.
  • Warranty: the LBC design prescribes the use of systems for which the suppliers offer zero product warranty (save for surface finish).
  • Responsibilities:LBC seeks to make the Contractor entirely responsible for the LBC design, absolving the LBC designers of their responsibility, denying the Contractor choice in design, creating ambiguity, increasing the likelihood of poor outcomes.
  • Cost –the complex, high-risk LBC design is up to 50% more expensive than usual UK cladding
  • Tenderers– the above issues caused every experienced UK high rise overcladding Main Contractor to decline to tender for the Uk’s largest re-cladding project.

Our concerns were so great to us that we made it clear, we could not and would not ‘build only’ the LBC designs or products. Instead we offered our design to remove the risks, surpass current standards, save 30% (£20M) of cost, use fully compliant products, with +30year proven performance, backed by a 25 year warranty, that could be readily constructed from mast climbers, with minimum disruption to occupants as evidenced in this short film.

Getting cladding right is not difficult. Buyers must not prescribe designs or products. They must make decisions and appointments by reference to what is proven to work (both product and service), then make one party, the Contractor, clearly and unambiguously responsible for survey, design, material selection, workmanship, and warranting that the end-product is ‘fit for purpose’. In this way, the Contractor is certain he is singularly responsible and will therefore be extra vigilant to avoid failure, safeguarding all parties future.

Pete Hillyard
design build facades

Updates from Chalcots

Letter to London Borough of Camden Council from Micheal Gove MP – Click Here

Camden homes are fire risk, Camden New Journal – Click Here

Stop the works at Chalcots, Camden New Journal – Click Here

Angry tenants in demo outside estate – Click Here

Update @ 15/06/23: Chalcots Residents Protest

Click to Play Video

10 month Update @ 17/10/22: (nb; the in progress, enabling works scaffold shown below is yet to have it’s protective wrapping that will greatly restrict view and daylight).