Kate Lamble’s BBC podcast
‘Hundreds of blocks of flats’ in England and Wales found to have inferior fire safety measures the BBC reports how post-Grenfell cladding inspections are uncovering a series other fire risks!
Owners of long leasehold apartments in many high rise blocks have been searching for reassurance that the cladding on their block is safe, since the horrific Grenfell Tower fire over 3 years ago, in June 2017.
However, inspections are revealing other fire safety concerns, not just cladding-related issues.
“Many owners are now finding problems with ‘compartmentation’, the way their individual flat is sealed to stop fire and smoke spreading within a building”.
‘Typically, flats should have barriers inside the spaces between any cladding and the outside walls, and fire breaks in the internal walls to ensure flats are protected for as long as possible should a fire break out.’
So far it appears that substandard fire safety has been identified in 90% of the 2,000 buildings inspected with circa 60% not cladding related.
Fire safety specialist Jon Limer, Director with west country experts Peninsula Fire Safety commented “Three years on from the Grenfell tragedy, the current situation might be summarised that it is accepted that the cladding issue is huge, the cost running into billions of pounds. Who pays for this and how is the next challenge. However, the impact on the apartment owners and occupiers is enormous too, many now saddled with worthless and unsaleable apartments, with it likely that in many cases there being significant borrows too. How things have been allowed to get to this state is hard to believe. We spend our working life looking at apartment blocks and other commercial buildings and it is evident that fire safety hasn’t been are the forefront of people’s minds. Lots of assumptions and existing practises, now being questioned and challenged. The conversation needs to be expanded to embrace ‘fire safety’, not just cladding.” “Building standards should not be a race to the bottom, significant improvements need to be made, lets hope they do, there’s a long way to go!”