We have been working with an extremely reputable risk assessment company recently and reviewing all of our buildings to ensure that they are fire safe.
What has really shocked us is that, even though almost every building that we take over has had a fire risk assessment within the past couple of years, there are huge discrepancies with what they should and shouldn’t have. We are now having to do a lot of work to bring them up to scratch.
The real issue is that with new builds, planning regulations are in place to ensure that every flat is compartmentalised correctly : that means that if a fire starts in one flat, it can be kept within the flat until the fire brigade arrives. However, for older buildings this is obviously not the case. In fact some of our buildings have the original Lathe and Plaster systems!
Consequently the upgrade process can be very extensive and costly. Our view is that we will work with directors of all our residents management, and right to manage, companies to make sure we adopt sensible approaches to the work required and that all leaseholders are kept informed along with details of their responsibility within their own flats too.
It’s not an easy thing to communicate to people as some have lived in the same apartment for 25 to 30 years and so don’t understand why we have to spend money on such things! However, as we know sadly from Grenfell Tower, it only takes one major fire and then people realise how serious these matter are.