Fire Risk Assessments
The Council has up to date fire risk assessments for all flats with communal access, which includes monthly recorded inspections to each block. In light of the tragic events at the Grenfell Tower in London, we are currently reviewing our fire risk assessments. At this early stage in the investigation the full details of the incident are not clear. However, the Council can confirm it has not utilised this type of cladding system.
Although the Council has no high rise blocks, we are mindful of the anxieties of our tenants and residents, and as a result we have prepared and are starting to deliver a programme of reassurance for tenants relating to the Council’s proactive management of fire safety to our stock which will be completed by next week.
Various media sources are now starting to raise questions about the fire resilience of various cladding systems. We would like to assure our tenants and residents that the systems currently being installed by the Council meet and exceed the regulations for fire safety.
The London property had an aluminium skinned polyurethane panel fitted to a tracked system, which created a void between the insulation panel and the outside wall of the building. This air gap provided sufficient air to support the fire and acted like a chimney in assisting the spread of fire across the building.
The system used by the Council is a ‘close clad’ installation, which means the fire retardant insulation material is fixed directly onto the brickwork and then covered with a mortar based render, which fully encapsulates the external wall insulation (EWI) system. In addition, our cladding has fire breaks between floors for any building over two storeys. This is above the requirements of the Insulated Render & Cladding Association’s (INCA) technical guide.
Finally, to ensure our insulation systems have been installed correctly, all staff fitting the insulation are fully trained and approved by the manufacturers. They are then inspected by our own staff as well as an independent inspection by third party bodies who specialise in the EWI system.
Our current supplier of insulated render systems has clarified that they complete in-depth fire testing on their EWI systems through the BBA (British Board of Agrément) and the BRE (British Research Establishment), to ensure the systems achieve the highest industry standards and meet current building regulations with regard to fire resistance and spread of flame.
Watch their product being tested.