Fire safety

Following the fire at Grenfell Tower in June 2017, we’d like to reassure residents on the measures we have in place to make sure our properties are as safe as possible.

All of our properties that have shared areas (such as stairwells and corridors) are regularly checked, inspected and assessed by specialists for fire risks. We work closely with the fire authorities to ensure that our buildings and procedures meet all statutory requirements and regulations.

When we carry out our reviews our checks include:

  • Fire risk assessments
  • Internal smoke detection equipment
  • Having clear fire procedures in place

We’re taking extra precautions

Following the fire at Grenfell Tower, we’re carrying out an additional thorough review to make absolutely certain that we’ve taken all the precautions we can to keep people safe.

We’ve reviewed fire safety at all of our properties that are six storeys or above, and we’ve contacted residents living there with specific information relating to their block. We’ll soon be sharing information with residents in five-storey buildings, followed by four-storey buildings and then three-storey buildings.

Cladding

We know that residents are particularly concerned to know whether any cladding used on properties is fire safe.

As well as assessing the safety of any cladding where necessary, we’re also carrying out full fire safety reviews to make sure the local fire officer is satisfied that there are sufficient safety measures in place at our properties in the event of a fire.

Sprinklers

When we submit plans and build our properties, fire safety measures are scrutinised by building control, an approved inspector, the local fire authority and planning. Sprinklers are only required in buildings of 30m or more and where design requires for extended travel distance or risk. So if there are no sprinklers fitted in your block, this is because the design or fire authority is satisfied that they are not needed.

If the law changes following the fire at Grenfell Tower and we’re required to retrofit sprinklers in any of our properties, we will of course install these.

‘Stay put unless’ policy

Advice on how to react to a fire differs from property to property. In many cases the best advice is to ‘stay put unless’. This has received understandable scrutiny after the Grenfell House Fire. The London Fire Brigade provides context for this on its website.

In summary, if we’ve advised you to ‘stay put unless’, this is because there are safety measures in place to stop a fire spreading if it breaks out in your building. But if heat or smoke is affecting you, or if the fire breaks out inside your own flat, the advice is to leave the property and call 999 for the Fire Brigade explaining exactly where the fire is located within the building as well as the address.

If you’re not sure what the advice is for your particular building, please email us at contactcatalyst@chg.org.uk or phone us on 0300 456 2099

How you can help

Keep escape routes and communal areas clear so that there’s nothing in the way if people need to get out quickly – for example, buggies or bikes should not be left in corridors or stairwells.

We’ll be reissuing this advice to all residents in the coming weeks.

We regularly visit neighbourhoods to identify health and safety hazards and if any are left in a communal area, we will:

  • Remove it immediately if it’s a high risk and obstructs escape routes
  • Ask residents to remove other items immediately. If they have not been cleared we’ll either dispose of the items or we may store them for a certain period of time to allow the owner to collect them

Please let us know if there are any items you believe are causing an obstruction.

Let our fire inspectors in

By law, we have to carry out regular fire safety checks in the shared parts of our buildings. Our inspections are carried out by Team Safety. When you have seen their identification, please let our fire inspectors in.

Free home safety check and smoke alarms

Your local fire service provides free home safety checks and in many areas, this may include fitting a free smoke alarm. Fire officers will also advise you about making your home safer. Get a free fire safety visit from your local fire service:

  • London Fire Brigade: 08000 28 44 28
  • Royal Berkshire Fire & Rescue Service: 0800 587 6679
  • Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service: 01296 744477
  • Oxfordshire Fire & Rescue Service: 01865 842999

You can also download this handy leaflet explaining how to test your smoke alarm