Further reassurance regarding high-rise flat blocks in Stevenage

16 Jun 2017

We understand and share the anxiety and concern that people are experiencing following the devastating fire in Kensington this week. It is important to stress again that disasters like this are extremely rare.

We want to reassure our residents that we take their safety and our obligations on fire prevention and fire protection extremely seriously. Like all responsible residential landlords, we work hard to make sure that our blocks remain safe, resilient and compliant with building regulations and fire regulations, and we follow the advice of our fire service colleagues. All our blocks have fire prevention equipment and fire-fighting equipment, comply fully with the Fire Safety Order 2005 and are regularly inspected by our own staff and fire service staff. We give all our tenants up-to-date information about fire safety and provide general information and guidance in lobby areas, stairwells and lifts.

You may see information in the news that causes you further concern and we are working hard to allay this. All our flats are designed with at least 30 minutes’ resistance from fire and smoke, which means that if a fire did break out somewhere else in the building, you would be safe in your flat for at least half an hour. All our flat blocks have simple escape routes. None of our high-rise flat blocks have cladding or insulation, so it is highly unlikely that a fire could spread on the outside of a building. None of our blocks currently have sprinkler systems – they were all built before sprinkler systems were required.

Fires do break out in our flat blocks on occasion, from a number of different causes. Many of you will remember the fire at Harrow Court in 2005 when two fire-fighters and a resident lost their lives. All of these previous fires – including the Harrow Court fire - were contained at the point of origin and did not spread through the building. The fire service has found no fault with Stevenage Borough Council’s fire safety related activities.

If fire safety regulations or recommendations change in the future, we will make any changes required to keep our buildings compliant and the people who live in them safe.

If you would like more information, if you have concerns about safety in your home or if you need further reassurance, please speak to your tenancy officer.

If you have questions about fire safety, please email them to our fire safety team FireSafety@stevenage.gov.uk

You can find more detailed information on our website http://www.stevenage.gov.uk/housing/184153/