High rise gets ‘waking watch’ due to cladding

High rise gets ‘waking watch’ due to cladding

RESIDENTS IN a Croydon development are ‘fearing for their safety’ after the 24 hour waking watch was installed at Propeller Crescent and Purley Way.

Your Local Guardian reported on the waking watch’s installation at the buildings in the London borough, ‘due to fire concerns’ raised after an expert survey identified issues with ‘potentially flammable cladding’ on the buildings. London Fire Brigade installed the waking watch and residents were notified by housing association Hyde, which is responsible for the development, in a letter – but residents said they ‘still feel left in the dark as to whether they are safe’.

Resident Karen Kingji said: ‘It’s been weird and unsettling. We got the random letter through and now we have all these fire marshals walking around. I’ve got two kids – three and eight - and live with my partner. It's quite worrying if there’s a fire. We received one letter and that’s it. We need some more information, what’s going on in our block flats – are we safe?

‘This is the first time I’ve ever been worried about. In our block of flat the fire alarms are odd and set each other off, so they are hard to rely on.’

Liz Oliver, interim director of compliance for Hyde, responded: ‘Resident safety is Hyde’s utmost priority. Since the tragic events at Grenfell Tower, Hyde has taken a proactive approach which has resulted in Hyde leading the way on fire safety. Elaine Bailey, Hyde’s chief executive at the time, personally led a taskforce immediately after the Grenfell tragedy to undertake holistic remediation working, not merely restricted to ACM cladding.

‘This resulted in major work on 10 buildings and a number of other smaller projects, in line with our commitment to spending £50 million on fire safety in the 3 years since June 2017. The emphasis on resident and building safety is ongoing and Hyde is determined not to take any risks. An example of this is the fire safety work that we are currently carrying out at homes in Propeller Crescent and Purley Way.’

She added: ‘Following advice from an external fire expert, potential issues were identified with how some of the non-ACM cladding had been installed. Those experts then advised us to install a temporary fire alarm system, which is nearly complete. The provision of waking watch was not considered necessary by our external fire risk experts at that time.

‘On a routine visit to the building in September 2019, the fire authorities requested that we install a waking watch as an additional layer of protection to residents. We acted on this advice and wrote to residents to inform them that the waking watch was being installed in September. The fire wardens will be reviewed on completion of the installation of the upgraded fire alarm system, at which point they may be removed or reduced.’