IslingtonTribune

The independent London newspaper

Disturbing findings from our estate’s fire risks audit

30 June, 2017

• NO Islington Council tenant or leaseholder will believe that the council knows what it is doing in terms of fire safety.

For years we have been telling the housing department that its major works are an expensive fraud, with the council ceding control to its framework contractors, with no regard for cost or quality. The result has been shoddy, unregulated work.

After the Grenfell fire, we asked for the most recent fire risk assessments (FRA) for our little estate.

The first disturbing finding is that the council seriously underestimates the people accessing each fire exit – in our case it claims that approximately 12 residents would use each staircase in a fire emergency. This is clearly ridiculous as there are 16 bedrooms in the eight flats on each staircase.

If this is the thoughtless way councils assess fire risk, is it any surprise that Kensington and Chelsea appeared clueless as to who was in Grenfell Tower at the time of the fire?

Secondly, the FRA “audit” we were sent was made in June 2016, though each page was dated February 2013. Out of the 40 or so recommended actions to make our buildings fire-safe, only three had actually been carried out – and they were to replace lightbulbs.

All the other much more serious recommendations had been marked “re-assigned” or “completed” or “on hold” and dated the day we asked to see the FRA – and in every case were still outstanding. For instance, no action had been taken to see if an exposed electrical cable was “live”, though the recommended due date had come and gone.

VICKI LEONARD
Chair, Haslam Close Leaseholders Association, N1

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