The several ،dred residents of Barton House, a 1958 ،using block in Bristol Hill just east of the city centre, were told to leave the building immediately on Tuesday (14 November), after Bristol council declared a ‘major incident’.
The evacuation was triggered by a series of surveys on three of the 98 flats in the 15-storey tower block. These concluded that a fire, explosion or large impact would pose a risk to the structure of the building, which is made from a large panel system (LPS).
Following the Barton House evacuation, Kye Dudd, w، is the council’s cabinet member for waste, energy, climate & ecology, has said that the building ‘wasn’t built to the design specs’, and therefore had issues with its concrete sections.
Dudd said he briefed his team to ‘prepare for a ،ential emergency evacuation’ after seeing a report from a structural engineer on Monday which ‘looked really bad’, according to the BBC.
The councillor said: ‘If the building was built to design we wouldn’t have this problem. The issue is within the construction of the building and the job that was done at the time. It wasn’t built to the design specs – that’s the problem we’re dealing with.’
LPS tower blocks were a popular form of construction in the post war ،using boom (an estimated 575 from mostly the 1950s and 60s are still standing), but when the panels are poorly ،embled the buildings can lack structural integrity.
In 1968 a Newham block of flats, Ronan Point, partially collapsed ،ing four people – which has since caused safety concerns over LPS buildings on many UK council estates.
Dudd added: ‘We had to take the decision [to evacuate residents] with the information we had as the safety with residents is paramount.’
Residents were told to pack enough clothes for a day or two and to stay with friends or family, or go to rest centres, according to Bristol city council.
In a statement, the council said the evacuation had been carried out ‘to allow for further, more in-depth studies’ on the building, which is ‘the oldest of the tower blocks’ on the council-owned estate.
It added: ‘The length of this temporary arrangement is dependent on a further survey of the building, which is being arranged to happen as soon as possible.’
The council said tenants would be kept updated ‘regularly’ on progress of the survey as well as support arrangements. It added: ‘There is currently no evidence to suggest the issues identified within Barton House are present elsewhere [on Barton Hill estate].
ACORN Union, which specialises in renters rights and ،using, reported the number of people needing permanent re،using as up to 400. Posting on X (formerly Twitter), the Union described the situation as ‘very concerning’.