Grenfell Tower: Barnet Council and Barnet Homes’ response
Councillor Richard Cornelius, Leader of the Council, said: "First and foremost, Barnet Council would like to extend its thoughts and sincere condolences to those affected by this week’s tragic event in West London.
"The London Fire Brigade have yet to confirm what caused the fire at Grenfell Tower to spread so quickly. However, in light of suggestions that the building’s external cladding played a significant role, our Planning and Building Control Teams are undertaking an urgent review of the information we hold about properties in the borough with cladding systems, to identify potential risks. A preliminary report will be presented to the Council’s Housing Committee on Monday, 26 June.
"We will also be asking our main Housing Association Partners, including all those with tall buildings in the borough, for reassurances about their fire risk assessments."
Barnet Homes is shocked and saddened by the devastating fire which occurred at Grenfell Tower in West London in the early hours of Wednesday morning which has tragically resulted in a number of deaths.
Barnet Homes’ thoughts are very much with those affected by this event.
Early reports have confirmed that the block underwent significant refurbishment recently including the installation of an external cladding system. Until further details on the incident are known it is not possible to fully understand if these works contributed to the rapid spread of fire.
Barnet Homes manages a number of blocks which have external cladding systems. Although Barnet Homes has a robust approach to managing fire risk, in light of Wednesday morning’s events Barnet Homes will be undertaking further reviews of these systems.
Although the cause of the fire at Grenfell Tower has not yet been established, Barnet Homes has commissioned an urgent review of cladded housing blocks of five storeys or more within the borough. There are ten blocks in total, which includes three blocks situated in the Granville Road development, NW2. These three blocks were inspected yesterday (Monday 19 June).
These blocks were inspected first, as they are the only blocks in our housing stock that have undergone major refurbishment in recent years, including the installation of a cladding system in 2012.
The cladding system at Granville Road is different to what media reports suggest was used at Grenfell Tower. The insulation materials behind the exterior rain screen panels are different and made from a non-combustible mineral fibre material. In addition, fire stops have been installed at each floor level and around each window. The fire stops are also made of a non-combustible material
We are currently inspecting the seven other blocks and expect our work to be completed by the end of today (Tuesday, 20th June). Once this work has been completed, we will be sending physical samples from our investigation to the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG)’s testing facility for further inspection and analysis. This is in line with the Government’s advice and recommendation to councils at this current time.
We will be writing a letter of reassurance to all residents living in the ten blocks with cladding on Wednesday, 21st June. We will keep them updated with updates on specific actions taken, once the results of the inspections are fed back to us.
All blocks with communal areas are subject to regular fire safety inspections. Barnet Homes has stringent measures in place to ensure the safety of residents living in our properties.
Advice from London Fire Brigade for people who live in high rise properties or purpose built flats and maisonettes, aside from having a working smoke alarm and taking fire safety precautions, is to make sure you know your escape plan and what to do if there is a fire inside your home or somewhere else in the building.
Further information is available on the LFB website here specifically for people who live in purpose built flats and maisonettes http://www.london-fire.gov.uk/know-the-plan.as