Update on essential fire safety works

Friday 17 April 2020

Following some concerns from residents who are worried about essential fire safety works taking place during the Coronavirus pandemic, we have outlined the Council’s approach to these works.

Best standards of fire safety

Following the Grenfell Tower tragedy, we have committed to achieving the best standards of fire safety to keep all residents safe and ensure a tragedy of this nature never happens again.

We have two important priorities in our fire safety programme: replacing fire doors and installing smoke alarms and heat detectors.  We will outline the work we are undertaking a little later.

We know however that some residents are concerned about these works continuing during the Coronavirus pandemic.

Essential works may require access to homes

Some essential work may require access to your homes. We want to make sure you feel comfortable with the appointment going ahead, so we will contact you prior to any work starting to seek your permission.

We want to reassure you that if you do not want anyone to enter your home to carry out planned fire safety works during this time, then you can rebook to a more convenient time. However, for mandatory gas and electrical safety checks our usual process will remain.

Any work that does take place in your home or other Council buildings will adhere to strict Government guidance on social distancing and handwashing. This is to ensure the safety of all of our residents and staff. All Council staff and contractors who do enter your home will be clothed in Personal Protective Equipment. Staff who feel unwell, or have household members who feel unwell, will not be working.

What to do if you are self-isolating

It is also important that Council staff and our contractors establish if you are self-isolating or in a high-risk group as outlined by the Government before attending homes to carry out works.

High risk residents are classed as:

•           have had an organ transplant

•           are having certain types of cancer treatment

•           have blood or bone marrow cancer, such as leukaemia

•           have a severe lung condition, such as cystic fibrosis or severe asthma

•           have a condition that makes you much more likely to get infections

•           are taking medicine that weakens your immune system

•           are pregnant and have a serious heart condition

If you are self-isolating or classed as high risk, we will rebook the appointment when the period of isolation is over, if you are happy for us to do so.

Fire safety work that we are undertaking is as follows:

Fire door replacement programme

It is essential that all communal and flat entrance doors provide the necessary protection in the event of a fire.

We have committed to replacing all flat entrance fire door sets in council housing to ensure they are fire resistant for 30 minutes. Our commitment has been developed into a programme of works, dealing with the highest risk buildings first, this process is currently underway.

Installing smoke alarms, communal and in homes

We are installing communal smoke alarms and heat detectors where necessary.

Currently, if there was a fire in one property, which went undetected, it could spread into the communal parts of the block, without residents in other properties being aware.

A communal detection system will alert residents to a fire in another part of the building before that fire develops and spreads.

We are also continuing to install domestic alarms, in residents’ homes. These are the alarms that all homes should have. It is critical, to reduce risk to residents that we continue installing alarms in homes that do not currently have one and replacing alarms that are at the end of their life.

Our staff and contractors do appreciate that having anyone enter your home at this time is unsettling and distressing. We will do everything we can to avoid it and take all possible precautions if we must.

If you do have any enquiries please email Capital.investment@rbkc.gov.uk