High-rise council flats in Manchester are set to be be fitted with sprinkler systems. The move, which comes in the wake of the Grenfell Tower fire tragedy, is expected to be approved by the council’s executive committee. In total, 36 council-owned blocks of flats will benefit from the investment.
Additional fire risk assessments have been carried out on the flats following the deaths of 71 people in London six months ago. Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service (GMFRS) has visited every single high-rise block in the city to assess risks and pass on its advice.
Sprinkler systems on the cards for private buildings?
Owners of 216 privately owned high-rise buildings in Manchester have received letters from the council, urging them to identify potential hazards posed by building materials. They have been asked to provide the council with information about cladding and other products used in construction. Responses will be added to a database that will help the government gain an overall picture for the UK.
Work has already started at 12 private buildings that feature aluminium composite material (ACM) cladding. Procedures are being drawn up to establish how the council and fire service will deal with landlords who fail to respond or take action. In particular, they are paying careful attention to enforcement procedures.
Safety and responsibility under review
Councillor Bernard Priest is deputy leader of Manchester City Council. He told the Manchester Evening News: “We need to get to a position where every person who lives in a high-rise block feels safe in their homes, understands fire procedures for the building, and building owners know what their responsibilities are.”
He added that a review into enforcement powers of councils and the fire service is vital to ensure the legislation is in place to fully protect residents.