Tower blocks – FAQs

///Tower blocks – FAQs

Barnet Homes’ tower blocks updated 30th June 2017

Barnet Homes, on behalf of Barnet Council, manages 24 tower blocks across the borough. The council and Barnet Homes take fire safety extremely seriously, and extensive measures are in place to ensure our homes comply with fire safety regulations. All our tower blocks have up to date Fire Risk Assessments (FRAs) and they have all been inspected since the tragic fire at Grenfell Tower. The FRA system has been developed in conjunction with independent fire safety experts and the London Fire Brigade, who we continue to work closely with.

On Monday 26th June Barnet Council’s Housing Committee committed to investing an initial £10million in fire safety improvement measures in response to the Grenfell Tower fire. Barnet Homes will carry out a review of fire safety measures in the council’s 24 high rise blocks to ensure they all meet best practice, including consideration of sprinkler systems, ventilation systems and improved fire and smoke alarm systems. Each block will be individually assessed, and recommendations made.

Specific Granville Road FAQs updated 29th June 2017

What safety measures are currently in place in the buildings?
Barnet Homes and Barnet Council have put the following measures in place to ensure the safety of residents: –

  • Fire risk assessments have been completed on all tower blocks on the Granville Road Estate: Granville Point, Harpenmead Point and Templewood Point. This includes assessing the fire doors in the blocks
  • 24 hour fire safety patrols
  • Enhanced fire safety checks with the LFB
  • Electrical testing of white goods for residents
  • All corridors and communal areas within the blocks have been cleared of obstructions and anything that is potentially flammable
  • We have set up an information point on the estate where residents can come and ask us any questions.

On Saturday 24th June Barnet Homes conducted further in depth inspections of the three tower blocks on Granville Road, accompanied by Inspecting Officers from London Fire Brigade’s fire safety inspection team. As a result of these inspections, and advice received from our consultant fire risk experts, we can confirm that there are no additional fire safety concerns. Local crews from London Fire Brigade are doing familiarisation visits to the estate, and you may have noticed fire safety patrols in and around the blocks.

Are we going to be evacuated?

As a result of the inspections carried out on 24th June by Barnet Homes, accompanied by Inspecting Officers from London Fire Brigade, and advice received from our consultant fire risk experts, we can confirm that there are no additional fire safety concerns. Therefore Barnet Homes will not be evacuating the blocks.

 

What material is the cladding currently on the blocks made out of?

The exterior panels of the cladding are made out of an aluminium composite material (ACM). The insulation behind the exterior panels is made from an A1 rated non-combustible mineral fibre material. In addition, fire stops have been installed at each floor level and around each window. The fire stops are also made of a non-combustible material. This mitigates the fire risk.

 

When is the cladding going to be removed?

We have instructed contractors (Keepmoat Limited) to begin the process of removing the exterior cladding panels and insulation and they will start preliminary work on site w/c 26th June 2017. Barnet Homes expects that these works will be completed by the end of September.

 

Will the insulation need to be removed now or at a later date?

The insulation will be removed at the same time as the exterior cladding panels. Barnet Homes expects that these works will be completed by the end of September.

 

What steps are being taken to protect the blocks from water ingress or any other related repairs issues once the cladding has been removed?

Barnet Homes is currently doing design work to minimise the impact that the removal of the cladding could have on the blocks, which includes ensuring that the building remains water tight. We will provide residents with further updates as this work progresses.

How long until the new cladding is erected?

We want to be sure to get the future cladding solution absolutely right, so we will only start designing this once more is known from the investigations into the causes of the Grenfell Tower fire.

 

Will I get sprinkler and linked alarm systems in my block?

Barnet Council’s Housing Committee has committed to investing £10 million to deliver enhanced fire safety measures in all of the 24 high-rise blocks managed by Barnet Homes on behalf of the council. Measures will include consideration of sprinkler systems, ventilation systems and improved fire and smoke alarm systems. Each block will be individually assessed, and recommendations made, and we will consult with residents during the process.

 

Are Leaseholders going to be charged for the removal and replacement of the cladding and other internal works that go with it?

Leaseholders will not be charged for the cladding removal works or the replacement cladding solution.

London Fire Brigade fire safety advice for residents who live in high rise blocks:

  • Make an escape plan and make sure everyone knows how to get out safely
  • If there is smoke or fire inside your flat or maisonette and your escape route is clear: Get everyone out, close the door and walk calmly out of the building. Do not use the lift. Call 999, give your address, the number of your flat, and say which floor the fire is on
  • If there is smoke or fire inside your flat or maisonette and your escape route is NOT clear: It may be safer to stay in your flat or maisonette until the fire brigade arrives. Find a safe room, close the door and use soft materials to block the gap to stop the smoke. Go to a window, shout “HELP, FIRE” and call 999. Be ready to describe where you are and the quickest way to reach you. Windows above the first floor are not suitable to escape from due to risk of serious injury
  • If there is a fire in another part of the building: The structure of your building – walls, floors, doors – are designed to give you a minimum of 30-60 minutes’ protection from a fire, to enable you to remain in your flat while the fire brigade deal with the fire. If there is a fire elsewhere in your building you are usually safer to stay in your flat unless the heat and smoke from the fire is affecting you, in which case you can leave by the stairs if it is safe to do so. If it is not safe to leave and you do remain in your flat call 999 and let them know which flat you are in
  • If you are in communal areas of the building: leave and call 999.

More advice from the London Fire Brigade:

  • Make sure you have plenty of smoke alarms and test them regularly
  • Some buildings have mains powered smoke/heat detectors. If you have a mains-powered alarm which does not work, or beeps constantly, please contact Housing Direct on 0800 694 3344 to report it. Do not disable it – it is there for your safety
  • Make sure bikes and rubbish do not block communal exits or your escape routes
  • Keep balconies free of clutter. Please do not smoke in communal areas.
  • If you smoke, dispose of cigarette ends carefully
  • Candles, incense and oil burners are one of the biggest causes of fire within homes. Always keep an eye on them and keep them away from materials that may catch fire such as curtains, furniture, clothes and hair.

If you know or work with anyone who may have an increased risk of fire, who is less able to react or has a reduced ability to escape in the occurrence of a fire, please encourage them to book a fire safety check. These may include factors such as being a smoker, a hoarder, having an alcohol dependency or having mobility issues. Visit www.london-fire.com for advice for parents of young children and carers of elderly adults.

If you are a landlord looking for advice read London Fire Brigade advice for landlords

Find out more information on how to keep yourself safe from a fire if you live in a high rise or purpose built flats on the London Fire Brigade website.

2017-07-26T14:48:28+00:00 July 25th, 2017|