Sprinklers to be fitted in council high rises

Sprinklers to be fitted in council high rises

THE CITY of London will install sprinkler systems in three 20 storey social housing blocks on the Avondale Square Estate.

London SE1 reported on the move by the City of London Corporation, after its community and children’s services committee met to discuss fire safety measures for the five high rises that form part of its social housing. The three 20 storey towers in Southwark underwent a feasibility study, which found that the cost of installing sprinklers at West Point, Centre Point and East Point would be around £1.3m plus VAT.

The committee had been told that a front door on a flat at Eric Wilkins House in the borough had failed ‘after being exposed to fire for 15 minutes and 30 seconds’, with the corporation estimating that replacing all front doors in the blocks would cost around £4m. It also cited advice from London Fire Brigade (LFB) to all landlords, which called for retrofitting sprinklers in all high rise blocks and buildings housing vulnerable residents.

The City of London Corporation released a statement, which read: ‘The installation of fire sprinklers in our social housing high-rise tower blocks was agreed in principle by elected members at the community and children's services committee on Friday. The funding approach will be agreed at the next committee in June.

‘The security of our residents is paramount and naturally they have been concerned about fire safety. We have done a lot of work since last year to ensure residents are safe in their homes and to enhance fire safety on our estates. In the past year the City of London Corporation has moved from a three-yearly Fire Risk Assessment (FRA) to an annual independent FRA.

‘All the City Corporation’s tenants are part of a programme of electrical testing and rewiring which includes new hard-wired fire detectors being installed. As part of its fire door replacement programme, the City Corporation is also upgrading front doors to provide up to 60 minutes of burn time across its estates.’

Dan Daly, LFB’s assistant commissioner for fire safety Dan Daly, added: ‘Sprinklers are the only system which detects a fire, suppresses a fire and raises the alarm and we believe they are vitally important as part of a package of fire safety measures, particularly in buildings where there are vulnerable people such as care homes and schools.’