Majority of Manchester Tower Blocks Fail Fire Safety Standards
Shocking news has been released that of the 489 tower blocks in Greater Manchester, 367 failed to meet fire safety standards following inspections after the Grenfell disaster.
It has been revealed that 75% of the tower blocks inspected by the fire service were deemed not to have met current fire safety standards. Of the 489 residential tower blocks, only 117 were deemed to be ‘broadly compliant’ with current health and safety laws.
The news that three-quarters of the tower block housing failing to meet current fire safety regulations was only released to the public following a freedom of information request by a former fireman and fire safety officer.
489 tower block inspections were carried out between June and November 2017, following the Grenfell fire tragedy. The inspections were organised and carried out by the Greater Manchester High-Rise Task Force, which was established by the region’s mayor, Andy Burnham. The task force was set up in the wake of the fire that engulfed the Grenfell high rise in London on 14th June. The mayor wanted to ensure that all local tower blocks in the Greater Manchester area were safe for all residents.
Safety measures to be implemented
As a result of the tower block inspections, 299 of the high rises are now having an action plan drawn up by fire safety officers and individual building managers.
The Greater Manchester fire and rescue service (GMFRS) have been praised for their swift action following the Grenfell fire to check safety standards and to reassure Manchester’s tower block residents that their homes are safe.
GMFRS wasted no time in proactively inspecting every tower block in Greater Manchester. The are now working closely with local authorities, housing providers and private ownership properties to ensure that the correct fire safety protection is in place and appropriate fire safety advice handed out to residents.
Addressing immediate issues
Where fire safety issues had been identified through the insprections, GMFRS have worked closely with building owners to put plans in place to quickly address risk issues. Where interim measures and actions plans were put in place, GMFRS are now revisiting those buildings to ensure the measures are still in place and to provide support and advice for any remedial works taking place.
Leading local housing provider One Manchester was found to have only three out of their 17 tower blocks to be ‘broadly compliant’ following the fire safety inspections by the fire service task force. The housing provider went on to take swift action in response to the findings, with a 24/7 waking watch in all of their tower block buildings.
One Manchester commissioned a specialist fire safety company to conduct in-depth type three and type four risk assessments across all of their high-rise housing stock. This has resulted in an ongoing programme of fire safety works to address all issues that were discovered. Cladding replacement works started in January 2018, with completion predicted by early 2019. Residents are being kept well informed of all improvement works by newsletters and regular briefing sessions.
Fire safety improvement measures include the installation of fire alarms across all high-rise buildings and on-site caretaker visits to check smoke alarms in residents homes.