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High-rise safety: Tenants urged to keep areas clear

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SOCIAL housing tenants are being urged to help efforts to prevent a repeat of the Grenfell Tower tragedy by not creating fire hazards in communal areas of residential blocks.

Picture:DAVID FERGUSON. (25005355)

Two years on from the night when a devastating blaze tore through the west London tower block, causing 72 deaths, Andium Homes – the States-owned social housing provider – is continuing work on retrofitting sprinkler systems in all its high-rise blocks.

Mike Porter, Andium’s head of operations, said that the company was confident that its properties are safe but the programme was undertaken to provide ‘confidence and piece of mind’ to its tenants.

‘Following Grenfell we all have an obligation to make sure that nothing like that happens again,’ he said.

‘Andium takes its responsibilities very seriously. So we are very much on the front foot dealing with these issues.’

Next year a second report is due to be produced by the Grenfell Tower Inquiry team, which will publish the panel’s findings concerning the causes and circumstances of the tragedy.

‘The second report will be about what’s next and we will be looking at that and seeing how it applies to our buildings,’ said Mr Porter.

He said that tenants could also play their part in combatting the threat of life-threatening fires by being mindful of not creating fire hazards in communal areas of residential estates.

‘Communal areas can appear stark and impersonal and we understand that tenants may want to furnish areas with personal items, things like plants,’ he said.

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‘But the problem with this is while this is not an issue in normal times, it can cause issues for the Fire and Rescue Services. Combustible materials add to the fire risk. And items – as well things like prams, toys and cycles – can be a trip hazard if there is low visibility due to smoke. This can be dangerous not only for firefighters going to put out a fire but also people looking to escape.’

He added: ‘We don’t want to seem like a miserable landlord – we are reasonable about this – but what we would like is for tenants to be responsible.

‘We do provide storage areas and sheds and would ask that items stored in communal areas are kept to a minimum.’

Andium’s high-rise sprinkler refit timetable:

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Plaisant Court – complete

Hue Court 1 – under way

Hue Court 2 – end of 2019

Windsor court and La Collette – later this year

Le Marais – 2020 (as part of a four-year programme)

The Cedars – 2020

De Quetteville Court – 2021

Ian Heath

By Ian Heath
author

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