Tag Archives: Grenfell Tower

How The Grenfell Inquiry Will Impact Fire Regulations

Now that the report into the first phase of the Grenfell Inquiry has been published, the Government has had time to ponder its recommendations. This will impact a raft of existing fire and building control regulations. Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has already been quoted as saying that the recommendations will be implemented in full and quickly. As a fire sprinkler tank specialist committed to keeping our partners informed, we have taken a look at what those recommendations are so we can make you aware of them.

The report, compiled by Sir Martin Moore-Bick, looks at how the fire was able to spread so quickly and claim so many lives. Running to more than 860 pages, it pays particular attention to the cladding material used on the exterior of the tower block and the role it played in accelerating the blaze. It also looks at the fire safety system in place at Grenfell and draws conclusions that will lead to change. As a company dedicated to helping building owners contain fires with effective automatic systems equipped with their own water supply, we are disappointed not to have read that sprinklers should be mandatory in similar types of properties. However, this is something, Sir Martin has said he will consider in the phase two report.

The Prime Minister Boris Johnson has told Parliament that central government will take on responsibility for fire safety in the areas recommended in Sir Martin’s report. Some of the recommendations are likely to pass into law before the much-anticipated Building Safety Bill comes into being. This will involve more work for high-rise building owners and landlords.

 

The role of exterior cladding in the Grenfell fire

Sir Martin’s Grenfell Inquiry report concludes that changes to the walls of the tower during a refurbishment project left it in breach of Regulation B(4). This requires external walls of a building to adequately resist the spread of flame. The report further concludes that the aluminium composite material (ACM) cladding panels, which included polyethylene, was the “primary cause” of the spread of the fire, allowing it to travel from floor to floor up the tower. It also points out that the plastic insulation also contributed to the spread of the blaze.

ACM also formed an architectural element at the top of Grenfell and the report states it was the cause of rapid horizontal fire spread. Flaws were found in the design of the kitchen window in Flat 16, and the report concludes this flaw allowed a run of the mill kitchen fire to escape and catch the cladding alight. Sir Martin also found that Grenfell’s fire doors had missing self closers which caused a complete failure in the compartmentation of the fire.

Sir Martin has stated: “I am satisfied that, although many different factors played a part, the principal reason why the flames spread so rapidly up the building was the presence of the ACM panels with polyethylene cores…”

Recommendations expected to be implemented

At Nationwide Water Solutions, we expect the following Grenfell Inquiry recommendations, made by Sir Martin, to be implemented in the near future:

 

  • A requirement for high-rise building owners / landlords to have evacuation plans drawn up, including plans for vulnerable residents. These plans are to be reviewed regularly
  • National guidelines will be devised to ensure tower blocks can be evacuated quickly
  • Inspections to be urgently carried out on all existing fire doors in flats, which checks ongoing every three months or less
  • New requirements for building management, including better interior signage, regular inspections of both fire lifts and fire doors
  • Lifts must be fitted with mechanisms that will allow firefighters to take control of them during an emergency
  • Fire services will be required to have evacuation policies in place for high-rise buildings and also have smoke hoods available for firefighters. The hoods will help them carry out evacuations while navigating smoke-filled areas, such as corridors.
  • Building owners will be required to provide details of external walls and the materials used to the fire service, and make them aware of any changes
  • To ensure that fire services personnel at all levels understand the risk of cladding fires

 

We urge building owners to take note of the recommendations above, because they will impact how buildings are both managed and maintained. You can download a full copy of the report here.

 

Fire sprinkler tank expert’s view on Grenfell Inquiry recommendations

Many of the recommendations made in Sir Martin’s report are common sense approaches. We were interested to note his comments on the issue of mandatory automatic fire sprinkler systems in tower blocks. Sir Martin stated that sprinkler systems have “a very effective part to play” in general fire safety. However, he added he had yet to hear evidence about their use. Therefore, he was not currently in a position to make a recommendation – until sprinklers are looked at in greater detail in phase two of the inquiry.

We think automatic sprinklers should be used in all high-rise and industrial buildings. Our view is based on our knowledge of how modern fire-fighting equipment works and how containing fires early on is the best way to prevent another disaster on the scale of Grenfell. The comments made by Sir Martin on materials used and failings with fire doors will be acted on and changes made. If you are a building owner, it will fall on you to carry out the recommendations to the letter.

The Grenfell Inquiry is only happening because more than 70 innocent people lost their lives as a result or an ordinary kitchen fire. In most circumstances, a fire of this nature would not have spread to the extent it did. Understanding your building, the materials used in its construction and the plans needed to ensure it is safe has never been more important.

If you want to protect your building with an automatic fire safety system, consider installing a fire sprinkler tank to ensure water is always there when you need it. For further information about what we do to protect buildings, material assets and people from fires, visit our website.

 

Developer Sets New Sprinkler Standards

A developer planning to build the tallest apartment block in Derby has said every floor will be fitted with sprinklers. Goodwin Developments, spearheading The Landmark project, is currently preparing a planning application for the development. Its company ethos to install sprinklers in all new builds sets new sprinkler standards in the UK. The high-rise building will comprise 201 luxury homes as well as a gym and residents’ lounge.

Seventeen storeys high, architects’ drawings of the building were unveiled to the Press and local residents earlier this week. The company revealed it has a policy of fitting sprinklers in all its buildings – something campaigners have welcomed.

 

‘You don’t have to do it, but we do’

Goodwin Developments’ director, Stephen Pratt, told the Derby Telegraph that every apartment will benefit from sprinklers. He said this was to protect residents in the event of a fire.

He said: “The building we’re proposing is fully sprinklered. All of our buildings – even the two or three storey schemes we’re building in the UK – are fully sprinklered. It’s a policy we have. You don’t have to do it, but we do. We feel it’s something that is important.”

 

Industry is leading sprinkler change

While a government review of building regulations and fire safety is still under way following the Grenfell Tower fire tragedy, it seems developers are making up their own minds about the need for sprinklers. Goodwin could be a leader on new fire safety standards. Reaction to plans for The Landmark have been described as ‘really positive’ by the company.

The multi-million-pound scheme is being shown to the public for feedback before a planning application is formally submitted. With an iconic design and cutting-edge features, the project has been 17 months in the planning so far. If given the green light, the building will be the tallest in Derby.

 

Planning a new-build or want to retrofit sprinklers? Nationwide Water Solutions Limited is the UK’s leading independent sprinkler tank specialist. As well as supplying and installing sprinkler tanks, it offers a comprehensive range of maintenance, repair and inspection services.

 

 

What? Sprinklers in ALL homes?

New regulations in the US often go on to be implemented by other countries, including the UK. That is why Nationwide Water Solutions Limited, one of the UK’s leading suppliers of sprinkler tank products and services, predicted sprinklers could one day be a feature of building and fire safety regulations here, across the pond. Are you worried sprinklers will have to be fitted in all homes? Read on…

Unfortunately, it took the loss of multiple lives and real outrage to make the British government look again at fire safety regulations. The impact of the Grenfell Tower fire tragedy is now being felt. As a Government review considers what changes may need to be made to make buildings safer, reports are coming out from independent bodies that suggest every residential property in the UK should be fitted with sprinklers.

 

Will it ever happen?

The cost of retrofitting sprinklers in every property in England means it is unlikely, in our opinion, that all homes will be compelled to have sprinklers. However, it is looking ever-more likely that certain properties will be required to have sprinklers within the next five years.

In our estimation, we believe the following types of property will have to be retrofitted with sprinklers:

  • High-rise blocks of flats
  • Care homes
  • Some council and housing association properties accommodating vulnerable tenants, such as the elderly
  • Some public buildings

 

Nationwide Water Solutions Limited believes the following types of new builds are likely to require sprinkler systems in the medium-term future:

  • New builds over a set number of storeys
  • All new schools
  • New care homes

 

Why is this happening?

The tragic loss of life at Grenfell Tower has highlighted the need to bring fire safety and building regulations up to a higher standard. Failings at the London blaze illustrated how current precautions are not working. People are dying because modern fire protection equipment is not being installed.

 

What should I do now if I own homes?

If you represent a social housing provider, school, developer, are a private landlord or own a care home, plan ahead. You need to budget for a sprinkler system. If you want to know more about sprinkler tanks and the role they play in delivering water to sprinkler heads, talk to Nationwide Water Solutions. Worried that your sprinkler tank has not been inspected in the past 12 months? Book an inspection today.

Fire Safety Starts with Peace of Mind

If you are a social landlord or manage public sector buildings, you may be considering retro-fitting sprinkler systems. Following the tragic loss of 71 lives in the Grenfell Tower fire, the pressure is on many sectors to improve fire safety. What the public want is peace of mind.

Sprinkler systems and sprinkler tanks achieve this. They not only reassure people that fire-fighting equipment is on standby to start fighting a fire the moment it is detected, they really do save lives and reduce damage to property.

 

Why a sprinkler tank?

 

A sprinkler tank provides added peace of mind and extra protection. Knowing that an instant supply of water is ready and waiting to be used can make a huge difference to how people feel about fire safety measures. Many people are worried about fires and, with good reason, are concerned that social landlords and others are putting costs before lives.

During the recent Sprinkler Week, supported by Chief Fire Officers, the message was loud and clear – sprinkler systems save lives. The message also sought to bust some of the myths about sprinkler systems. For example, some people think sprinklers cause a lot of water damage. In fact, modern sprinklers only activate in the affected area – not throughout a building.

 

Sprinkler tank services

 

If you are one of those preparing a case for the installation of sprinkler systems, talk to Nationwide Water Solutions Limited. It supplies and installs sprinkler tanks, and also offers a comprehensive range of maintenance services. It provides free site visits and expert advice. With a team of fully trained engineers and a commitment to excellence, this is a company dedicated to offering peace of mind.

In the current climate, retro fitting sprinkler systems is likely to become the norm. Pressure is mounting, not just on social housing providers with high-rise apartments, but schools, hospitals, care homes and many other sectors.

Find out more about Nationwide Water Solutions here.

 

 

 

Schools Deemed Too Low Risk For Sprinklers

Union leaders have accused the Government of being “shockingly cavalier” towards fire safety in schools. They claim it is ignoring its own advice over the fitting of sprinklers. They spoke out after it was revealed that an academy almost completely destroyed by fire in 2016 is to be rebuilt without sprinklers.

The move has been described as “incomprehensible”. Now the National Education Union has sent an open letter of complaint to the Education Secretary, Damian Hinds, and the Fire Brigades Union. In it, the union asks why schools, including one next to Grenfell Tower, have been classed as being at too “low risk” to benefit from sprinklers.

Fire safety ‘on the cheap’

Seventy-one people died in the Grenfell Tower fire tragedy last summer. The union is accusing the Government of “paying lip service” to its own fire safety guidance, and “allowing it to be routinely flouted in the rush to build new schools as cheaply as possible”.

Eleven years ago, a bulletin for fire safety in schools said all schools should have sprinklers apart from “a few low risk schools”. However, it is claimed that just 35 per cent of new schools have been fitted with sprinklers since 2010. The union claims the decision not to fit sprinklers at the academy is not “an isolated case”.

The open letter points out Kensington Aldridge Academy, based below Grenfell Tower, has no sprinkler system and condemns a decision to build 32 new schools in Northamptonshire without sprinklers.

It says: “We would question how a large multi-storey secondary school in central London could possibly have been assessed as one of ‘a few low risk schools’.

Postcode lottery for sprinklers

In Scotland and Wales, it is a legal requirement for all new schools to be built with sprinkler systems installed.

The union says, sprinkler systems save lives, reduce rebuild costs and time, mean less disruption for children and staff, and reduce risks to firefighters.

For information about sprinkler tanks, including installation and maintenance, visit Nationwide Water Solutions.

 

Grenfell Tower Fire – Update

The fallout from the Grenfell Tower fire tragedy continues. It has been revealed that a second funeral has been held for one of the victims – after bone fragment was found. DNA testing has revealed it belonged to a 57-year-old victim. He died after jumping from the burning building. The bone fragment was found after police sent his clothes to be cleaned.

Discovered in a tumble dryer just a few weeks ago, the revelation came as a shock to the man’s family. His widow told Channel 4 News she found the second burial more distressing than the first.

Police apologise to Grenfell widow

The Metropolitan Police has apologised to the family for the “distress that this has caused”. A spokesman said Grenfell was “one of the most complex investigations” ever undertaken by the force.

Scotland Yard has said: “Mr Neda’s clothing was sent to an external company for professional cleaning of each item prior to their return to his family.

“Each person’s items are cleaned within an isolated environment so no cross-contamination can occur. It was during this process that a small fragment of bone was discovered.”

Safety reviews continue

Local authorities, social housing providers and businesses are continuing to review fire safety measures following failings at Grenfell Tower. While external plastic cladding is being removed from many high-rise buildings, additional fire suppressant measures are being considered.

Sprinkler systems are likely to be installed in many high-rise apartment blocks.

Sprinkler tank update

Nationwide Water Solutions Limited remains available to discuss sprinkler tank installation and maintenance. Its team of engineers is working with a wide range of organisations who are keen to implement fire safety improvements following the devastating impact of the fire at Grenfell Tower.

If you are considering the benefits of installing a sprinkler tank or want to ensure your existing tank is compliant and fit for purpose, contact Nationwide Water Solutions.

Legislation bid for sprinklers in social housing

Scotland could lead the way with sweeping new fire safety legislation for social housing projects. MSP David Stewart wants sprinkler systems installed in all new high-rise social housing developments. He has launched a consultation on a members’ bill for changes to current laws.

Mr Stewart was moved to act after inquires showed many high-rise social housing developments do not have modern fire suppression systems. A review was carried out following the Grenfell Tower fire tragedy. The Scottish government has admitted that sprinkler systems are one of the options being considered for improved fire safety.

Grenfell tragedy prompts calls for sprinklers

After 71 people died as a result of the tower block fire in North London, the BBC carried out an investigation that showed more than 300 high-rise flats in Scotland have no fire suppression systems in place. Figures obtained by the BBC suggested 15 people have died and a further 480 people injured in fires in high-rise buildings in Scotland – all since 2009.

If Mr Stewart manages to push through the members’ bill, councils and social housing providers will be required to fit sprinkler systems in all new social housing builds. His consultation is expected to run until April 16.

Grenfell a ‘scandal’

Mr Stewart told the BBC: “The scandal of Grenfell last summer was that protection was not available to those who were most in need.

“That is why I am making this common sense proposal to ensure all new social housing has a sprinkler system installed. This simple change in law is a practical step that will save lives.”

Sprinklers to be considered ‘very carefully’

Housing minister Kevin Stewart told MSPs t the end of last year that the Scottish government had “gone further on sprinklers than have other parts of the UK”, but said the ongoing review would consider the matter “very carefully”.

The BBC reports that a spokeswoman for the Scottish government said: “Residential sprinklers are one of a number of fire safety measures currently being considered by our review into building fire safety standards chaired by Dr Paul Stollard.”

 

For information on sprinkler tanks for sprinkler systems, visit Nationwide Water Solutions Limited. The UK’s leading independent sprinkler tank specialist supplies, installs and maintains sprinkler tanks across the UK.

 

 

 

Demand For Sprinkler Tanks Set To Rise

Fire safety in the UK will no longer be achieved on the cheap, if the interim findings of a review are implemented. Sprinkler tanks could feature in life-saving improvements to tower blocks. Dame Judith Hackett, who is leading a wide-ranging review into fire safety following the Grenfell Tower fire tragedy, has criticised some current practices. Her interim report indicates that current building regulations are leaving room for shortcuts.

She was said to be ‘shocked’ by some of the practices she had seen and is calling for more rigorous enforcement measures to hold bad landlords to account. She indicated there needs to be a shift away from ‘doing things cheaply’. Seventy-one people died when fire ripped through a tower block in London six months ago.

 

Sprinkler tanks mandatory in many countries

 

While sprinkler systems have to be installed in some types of property in the US and many other countries, that is not currently the case in the UK. Some states in the US require sprinkler systems even in individual homes.

Dame Judith’s report said the fire at Grenfell Tower “should not have happened in our country in the 21st century”. Her final report is expected to be complete next spring. It aims to ensure fire safety is improved in the UK, and is not an inquiry into the circumstances of the Grenfell fire.

 

Current regulations ‘not fit for purpose’

 

Dame Judith said current safety regulations applied to high-rise buildings are ‘not fit for purpose’, and is being exploited by those who want to save money by cutting corners. She called for a new system of enforcement and regulation. However, she pointed out that major fires are rare in the UK and that her interim findings do not suggest that buildings are generally unsafe.

Interim report recommendations include:

  • An overhaul of the “Approved Documents” in building regulations
  • An accreditation system to ensure competence for people working on the design, construction, inspection and maintenance of complex buildings are suitably qualified
  • Better consultation with fire services when designing buildings
  • Building developers to ensure formal handover process for any new high-rise residential building before occupation
  • More done to make sure that fire safety information is passed to the person responsible for running the building once it has been constructed
  • Fire risk assessments are carried out at least annually

 

For a full range of sprinkler tank services, visit Nationwide Water Solutions Limited.

Need a new sprinkler tank? Click here.

 

Renewed Calls for Sprinkler Systems in Tower Blocks

London Fire Brigade has issued a fresh call for sprinkler systems to be installed in flats. Firefighters called for sprinkler systems in tower blocks after the Grenfell Tower fire tragedy. A fire in student accommodation has now seen the service repeat its call.

It has published a new video showing a split screen that features two identical rooms. The footage highlights how a sprinkler system contains the fire in one room. A room without sprinklers saw the fire spread out of control.

The fire brigade says sprinklers save lives.

Sprinkler system saves students

Seventy-one people died when a fire swept through Grenfell Tower in London earlier this year. The death toll included pensioners and a stillborn baby.

A recent blaze at a block of flats occupied by 200 students in London saw no casualties. London Fire Brigade says a sprinkler system was installed in the building. The sprinklers gave everyone time to evacuate the flats before firefighters arrived on the scene.

‘Retrofit tower blocks with sprinklers’ call

London Fire Brigade issued a statement that said: “For a long time, we have been calling for residential tower blocks to be retrofitted with sprinklers.

“Sprinklers are the only fire safety system that detects a fire, suppresses a fire and raises the alarm.

“They save lives and protect property and they are especially important where there are vulnerable residents who would find it difficult to escape, like those with mobility problems.”

The UK’s sprinkler tank experts

For information about sprinkler tank installation, visit Nationwide Water Solutions.