Barnet Council has agreed additional funding of £7.5million for high-priority fire safety works to be carried out across the borough, to ensure resident safety remains the number one priority. The funding was agreed at the Council’s Housing Committee on Monday evening.

The total cost of the works, which are being commissioned in direct response to the Grenfell Tower fire, is £17.5million and includes funding of £10million that was approved by Housing Committee in June .The budget will be allocated from the council’s Housing Revenue Account, while the Council seeks funding from central Government.

Barnet Homes was later informed by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) that the type of cladding system used on three tower blocks in Granville Road, along with 200 other tower blocks across the country, did not meet the required standard. The cladding on the three tower blocks at Granville Road has now been removed and Barnet Homes are currently working on a solution for a replacement system, with a view to installing this next year.

The works approved last night, which will be completed within a 24-month period, have been identified through intrusive surveys undertaken of communal areas and a sample within the flats themselves.  These works are required to improve the fire integrity of the building and to enable an effective response to be provided in the event of a fire.

The type of works includes:

  • The upgrading of some communal and flat front entrance fire doors to a higher grade of fire and smoke resistance
  • Improved compartmentation between floors and flats
  • Upgrading ventilation systems where some gas services are installed within buildings
  • Improving access into the blocks for the emergency services in the event they need to access the building, such as dedicated parking/loading areas at block entrances.

While the buildings within this programme of works are safe, with up to date fire risk assessments (FRAs), these additional measures are to support and strengthen the existing ‘stay put’ fire strategy within the blocks, as recommended by LFB.

Leader of Barnet Council, Councillor Richard Cornelius, said: “The tragic event that we witnessed in the summer with the Grenfell Tower fire is one that we will never forget, and therefore it is vitally important that we take action to ensure the safety and welfare of our residents. With that in mind, we have agreed this funding to ensure the high-priority works start as soon as possible.

“Whilst the properties have all had up to date fire inspections and meet fire standard regulations, these additional measures will further enhance safety for residents.”

Chief Executive of Barnet Homes, Troy Henshall, said: “Barnet Homes is working closely with colleagues at Barnet Council to deliver these additional measures. These additional works will ensure our customers continue to remain as safe as possible.”

The report also committed to delivering upgrade and enhancement works such as alarms and sprinklers, but recommends waiting for the outcome of the independent review of the building regulations and fire safety, led by Dame Judith Hackitt, scheduled for next spring.

A progress update will be given at the next Housing Committee on Thursday 7 February.