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What should landlords do in response to Grenfell Tower Tragedy

Posted by Geoff Wilkinson on June 25, 2017 at 3:55 AM

Advice on what to do to reassure residents

Here is the current guidance for landlords in light of emerging findings from Grenfell Tower


  • Check that the fire risk assessment has been carried out within the previous 12 months and that the recommendations within the action plan of the assessment have been completed;
  • Check that there have been no material changes (to the building, the fire safety measures or the occupancy) that could, potentially, undermine the validity of the fire risk assessment. For example installation of replacement windows, cabling, gas safety works.
  • Engage with your residents to ensure they fully understand the emergency fire procedures in the building, particularly the meaning of “stay put”. Ensure that fire procedure notices are accurate. The Fire Service are currently advising that Stay Put remains the correct advice in most cases unless major defects are highlighted in the risk assessment.
  • Check that there are no combustible materials (eg storage of refuse, barbeques) in the vicinity of the cladding. Ensure that there are measures to prevent combustible materials in such locations (eg by temporary barriers or instructions to residents). Instruct residents that they must not have any barbeques on any balcony.
  • Check that all flat entrance doors, and doors that open onto escape corridors and stairways, are fire-resisting and effectively self-closing against any resistance of a latch (or, for example, in the case of plant rooms or cupboards, are kept locked shut.
  • Check all walls that separate flats, plant and store rooms, etc from escape routes to ensure there are no obvious routes for fire or smoke spread (eg, holes where services, such as pipes and cables, pass through walls).
  • Check that any smoke control systems including automatically opening windows, roof lights, and associated fire detection systems, are operating correctly
  • Check all facilities provided for fire-fighters, including fire-fighting lifts and dry or wet rising mains are fully operational and have been tested. If you have ANY concerns you should contact your local fire and rescue service, who will, if they have not already done so, carry out an inspection to ensure functionality.
  • Ensure that there is sufficient roadway access and hardstanding for firefighting vehicles attending incidents and to be set up to fight any fire externally. Consider installing bollards to prevent inconsiderate parking
  • Check that insulation or other materials that form the façade meet all relevant standards - consider sending a sample of the panel and insulation for testing - especially if the block exceeds 18m in height.

If you discover that the cladding and insulation are of the same type used in Grenfell or fail the test then there are some emergency measures that you should immediately implement to ensure the safety of residents, pending replacement of the cladding

Notify Fire and Rescue Service.

Inform your local fire and rescue service fire safety/protection department. Failure to do so may put fire-fighters as well as residents at risk.   The fire and rescue service will carry out an urgent inspection with the ‘responsible person’ to ensure that they are identifying and introducing appropriate interim measures, as set out below. The fire service will carry out a further inspection once the interim measures have been completed:If the building is protected by an automatic sprinkler system (or equivalent fire suppression system) you might not need to take any further interim measures before replacement of the cladding.

If the building is not protected by a suitable suppression system you must consider the need for interim measures. The measures adopted need to be based on an assessment of the risk by a competent person, but the following must, at least, be considered:

  1. Residents to be advised to ensure all smoke alarms are present and working in their flat; to report concerns about fire safety measures in the building (eg presence of combustible materials in escape routes) to their landlord and, understand the purpose of any interim measures being taken.
  2. Closure of car parks in which a vehicle fire could impinge on cladding.
  3. Provision of a temporary communal fire alarm system, comprising smoke detectors in circulation areas and plant rooms, and fire detectors (possibly heat detectors, rather than smoke detectors) in conjunction with fire alarm sounders in each flat. This will enable the entire block to be evacuated simultaneously in the event of fire. This option is unlikely to be suitable for tall blocks, in which a large number of people would need to use escape routes at the same time. The system may comprise a wireless system, using radio to link devices.
  4. Provision of a fire watch by appropriately trained patrolling security officers/wardens.
  5. In the case of the most serious risk, consideration must be given to moving all residents out of the block until satisfactory remedial work has been done.



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