Fire Safety Update - 17 May 2018
As we approach the one year anniversary of the tragic events which took place at Grenfell Tower in London on 14 June 2017, we wanted to provide an update on the actions we have taken to ensure the safety of all of our high-rise residents, which is, and always has been our priority.
We are encouraged by the statement made yesterday by Prime Minister Theresa May that the government will fully fund the removal and replacement of dangerous cladding by councils and housing associations, and we look forward to further information as promised from the housing secretary. We will continue with our programme of works which is already underway. We have committed to funding these works and will continue to do so. We will also be closely studying the Hackitt Review which is due out today, in order to satisfy ourselves, and most importantly our residents, that every possible measure to ensure their continued safety has been taken.
To recap, One Manchester own and manage 17 high-rise blocks in Hulme and East Manchester; 16 of which had cladding made up of Aluminium Composite Material (ACM). Subsequent tests undertaken by the BRE identified that whilst 3 blocks passed the cladding tests, 13 blocks failed. We took the decision to replace the ACM cladding on all 16 of our high rise buildings. This work commenced in January 2018 and is expected to be complete in 2019.
In addition to the cladding replacement programme, we immediately put in place several other fire safety measures and below is an update on each of these.
24/7 waking watch
A 24/7 waking watch was immediately put in place in all of our high-rise buildings in June 2017. This is still in place in 8 of our high-rise buildings and will remain until we have completed the works necessary to release them on a block by block basis. We are working with GMFRS on this and residents are being advised in advance when the waking watch is going to be removed.
Fire Risk Assessments (FRA’s)
We commissioned a specialist fire safety company to undertake in-depth (type 3 and type 4) Fire Risk Assessments in all high rise buildings. These are now complete and a summary of the actions and the dates for completion is displayed in the foyer of each building.
We made the decision to install fire alarms in all high-rise buildings and these are now operational in communal areas in all high rise blocks. There is a rolling programme of work to install heat detectors in individual homes and we have made significant progress on this with the cooperation of our residents with 60% of individual heat detectors now installed in homes.
Fire safety strategy
Our independent fire engineering specialist is working with us on a fire safety strategy which will look at a number of areas including our fire evacuation strategy, training requirements, record keeping and auditing.
Fire stopping works / compartmentation
A specialist contractor, Ventro was appointed in January to check any fire stopping work (compartmentation) and address any areas identified and this work is due to be completed in June 2018
We have updated high rise residents regularly via our on site caretakers, hand delivered letters, newsletters and on site briefing sessions as well as individual meetings as and when required. Our website is also regularly updated.
We also appointed a dedicated customer liaison officer for the duration of the programme of fire safety works that is regularly on site and available to visit people to speak to them about any concerns they may have.
We have recently established a high rise resident’s forum and held our first meeting in March 2018 with our next meeting planned for June. High-rise residents interested in joining the forum can contact Demi Duplex by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are making preparations to fit sprinkler systems across all of our high-rise blocks and will provide more information on this before we commit to a full programme of fit-out work which is likely to be in 2019.