Hackney fire safety issues still not resolved

Hackney fire safety issues still not resolved

178 URGENT issues in Hackney’s council owned blocks are still ‘outstanding’, though the council pointed out that 94% of issues have been addressed.

Hackney Citizen reported on the ‘more than 100’ fire safety issues still outstanding in Hackney Council’s social housing blocks, with the council responding that 94% of the 2,968 ‘high priority issues’ discovered from its fire risk assessments (FRA) undertaken last year ‘have been either resolved or are being worked on’, leaving around 6% or 178 issues.

These are said to include ‘combustibles or obstructions such as prams, bicycles, old furniture or rubbish bags’ in communal areas or near fire doors, with each issue meant to have been resolved ‘within one month of the FRA being carried out’, yet all the FRAs had been completed in December last year.

A council spokesperson responded: ‘There were more than 20,000 actions for the council to complete since it reviewed all its fire risk assessments and we have addressed the vast majority of these. This has been a huge and time-consuming programme into which the council has rightly invested unprecedented resource and staff time.

‘The high priority works that are still outstanding involve more complex planning and/or design. In addition, we are relying on a number of contractors with timetables that are outside of our control. We are of course trying to ensure these are finished as soon as possible.’

The council also stated that 83% of the 12,571 medium priority issues ‘are either resolved or are in the works’, alongside 79% of 5,318 low priority issues. It commented earlier this year that ‘essential’ housing works ‘face years of delays’ without the government’s help on fire safety, having previously disclosed that ‘at least’ 40% of the high priority jobs picked up’ in FRAs ‘will breach’ a one month window recommended by experts, and it would take FRAs in house to save money.

Last year, the council – through mayor Philip Glanville – released 1,800 FRAs online having previously apologised for providing incorrect fire safety information on the day of the Grenfell fire and ‘misleading’ the public. He had stated on 14 June that ‘all of our buildings have an up-to-date fire risk assessment (FRA)’, but after one assessment was found to be ‘out of date’ and another had not been undertaken for five years, he said ‘we apologise, it was not our intention to mislead anyone’.

FRAs ordered found there were nearly 3,000 jobs to be undertaken, and in a report published following the review, 1,823 FRAs were carried out that found 21,743 issues, with 2,968 of these deemed ‘high priority’ and 11 ‘critical’ that have been fixed.

The council had stated a cladding report was being written, but has now said it will not be produced, while a former health and safety officer had stated that information given to residents about upcoming cladding work was ‘meaningless’, with fire risks still remaining. He also recently complained about contractor safety, with the council being forced to defend its cladding contractor against those allegations.