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Paying the price of fire safety

01 December, 2017 — By John Gulliver

The fire doors on the Chalcots estate normally cost £1,000 each

AFTER a brief investigation, I can only applaud the council who appear to have decided to spare no expense on protecting tenants from fire hazards on the Chalcots estate.

You may recall that about 3,000 tenants were evacuated overnight in June when it was discovered the cladding on the high-rise blocks was inflammable – similar to that used on the Grenfell Tower.

After delivering hundreds of tenants glossy leaflets from a manufacturer of some of the most expensive “fire doors” on the market, hundreds of new front doors have been fitted in recent weeks.

I checked the supplier, Sentry, a firm based in Doncaster, and discovered the cost of the sort of high-specification front door now being fitted on the estate works would normally cost about £1,000.

The Chalcots estate

On the assumption the council is paying a much reduced rate – say, 50 per cent less on the basis of a mass order for the estate (the number of households is, apparently, 641) – that would still mean the council’s bill for replacement of doors alone would be around £320,000. Not only are Sentry doors solidly “fire-proof”, they are pretty burglar-proof as well with a sophisticated three-locking system.

Apologising for the “disruption, distress and inconvenience”, council leader Georgia Gould in a letter to tenants makes it clear she is prepared to spend whatever it takes to protect them.

Meanwhile, as heating bills are expected to rise during the replacement of cladding that help to insulate the estate’s five tower blocks, the council has promised to cover all extra costs.


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