From today (Thursday 4 July 2019), Kensington and Chelsea Council will be conducting borough-wide fire safety checks on balconies on our residential properties. This is in line with new Government guidance updated last week, after the fire in Barking in June.
We are also writing to Housing Associations and landlords in the borough, to outline what the new guidance means and to ask them to conduct similar checks in the borough, especially on types of insulation and building materials.
At a time when fire safety guidance is under review and regulations are being updated across the country, officers at Kensington and Chelsea Council are working hard to keep track and take action to ensure the safety of our residents wherever necessary.
Work on balconies will involve removing coverings and checking the standards of insulation used underneath. If council officers are not satisfied with standards or materials, they will be replaced.
We will start this programme of work at properties where survivors and bereaved from Grenfell Tower have been rehoused. Despite the risk at these properties being very low and robust fire safety measures already in place, we think that is right thing to do because of what these families have already experienced.
We will soon move quickly onto other buildings and conduct thorough checks right across the borough based. We are taking this action proactively to make sure people are safe and feel reassured. That is our number one priority.
Work will also continue to upgrade and replace fire doors across the borough, with manufacturers providing more in September as they try to keep up with national demand.
Cllr Kim Taylor-Smith, deputy leader of Kensington and Chelsea Council, said: “When I took this job two years ago, I said that resident safety and safe housing are my first priority. We believe Kensington and Chelsea Council is one of the first authorities in the country to take action on balcony safety, following new guidance.
“We have a number of families in the borough who have been rehoused after the Grenfell Tragedy two years ago, and we will make sure their homes are prioritised. But this is a borough-wide effort and goes hand in hand with other measures we are putting in place, including fire door upgrades.”