Following the tragic events which occurred at Grenfell Tower on 14th June 2017, Ashfield District Council has been closely following the situation and identifying any issues which may affect fire safety within our housing stock and other public buildings.
The Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG) and the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) have been liaising with all Local Authorities and Housing Associations in relation to two specific points; that of ascertaining how many blocks of social housing exist with a height of 18 metres or over and whether these buildings have been retrofitted cladding made out of Aluminium Composite Material (ACM).
As an instant response to the tragedy all relevant teams within the Council began making enquiries into their stock in terms of height, retrofit cladding and fire risk assessments.
In terms of Ashfield’s housing stock, it can be confirmed that there are no buildings classed as ‘high rise’ or nearing the 18 metre mark. Ashfield’s newest buildings for example, the three-storey Darlison Court in Hucknall, is approximately 9 metres in height to the eaves. There are no blocks within Ashfield’s housing stock higher than three-storey.
In relation to cladding, no property within Ashfield’s social housing stock have been clad with the aluminium based cladding as used in the Grenfell tragedy; to which the Council have sought categorical assurance for from all of its suppliers involved in this work.
In terms of general fire risk, it can be confirmed that all blocks of flats receive an annual fire risk assessment from which a programme of regular safety checks are established based on the risks presented. These checks range from daily to weekly to monthly and involve the checking of fire detection equipment and/or ensuring communal areas and stairwells are kept free of clutter, allowing ease of movement and minimising fire risk. In addition, risk assessments are randomly audited by the Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service.
Along with social stock, the Council has also examined and sought assurance on fire risk within its public buildings and leisure centres (which are operated on a contracted out basis). In both instances it has been confirmed that the risk regime is similar to that of the social stock with annual fire risk assessments taking place as appropriate and periodic risk based checks in terms of fire detection and prevention thereafter. In all instances the assessments meet the requirements of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (the FSO). In addition there are no public buildings greater than three-storey in Ashfield’s stock.
Ashfield District Council extend its deepest sympathies to those families, relatives and individuals involved in the extreme tragedy at Grenfell Tower. Any lessons learnt from the catastrophe which affect Ashfield properties will be followed up.