South Ayrshire Council reviews fire safety standards on high rise blocks
South Ayrshire Council has ordered a review of its three high-rise properties following the Grenfell Tower fire in London. Surveys will get underway on the buildings on Monday (19 June) as a precautionary measure to ensure that all properties meet relevant safety standards.
The Council has responsibility for three thirteen-storey high flats at Riverside Place in Ayr, which are home to 234 households. The communal parts of the properties are subject to annual fire risk assessments and health and safety audits and the next annual site visit is scheduled to take place next month (July).
The 2016 assessment confirms that the following safety control measures are in place at Riverside Place:
Sound alarm and detection system installed, tested, maintained and serviced
Sprinkler system installed in all domestic dwellings and communal areas
Fire routes and fire exits visually inspected on a daily basis
Provision and maintenance of appropriate fire-fighting equipment
Local Fire & Rescue service provision and guidance
Dry risers, regularly serviced
Fire precaution signage throughout premises.
The flats were fitted with ‘mineral core’ external cladding in 1992 – this is a different product from the materials used on Grenfell Tower. To provide assurances for residents, the Council has appointed a specialist architect to undertake inspection work. This will involve the removal of several cladding panels to allow checks to be carried out to inner layers as well as the external finish, and to compare the installation against current building regulations. The Council has written to the residents in the high flats to advise them of this planned work. Councillor Philip Saxton, South Ayrshire Council’s Portfolio Holder for Housing and Customer Services said the safety of residents and tenants was their first priority: “Following the recent, horrific events in London, we are carrying out a precautionary review of fire protection measures in our three high-rise blocks. “While all three meet strict fire protection standards, the cladding was fitted 25 years ago and we need to ensure that the buildings continue to provide the level of safety our tenants would expect. “We’re working closely with residents and tenants to keep them fully informed about the building inspections, which will be carried out in the next few days.” Joe Lafferty, Chair of the Riverside Place Tenants Association, said this was a welcome move, “We’re gratified by the speed at which the Council and the Fire Service have started to carry out safety checks at the three buildings. “Admittedly these checks are carried out cyclically anyway but some are being brought forward in response to the tragedy in London. We already have sprinkler systems, working fire alarms and our cladding is safer. “No doubt any more recent improvements to our safety measures which come to light as a result of the ongoing inspection will be acted on and we look forward to working with our partners in assisting where possible.”