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Tower blocks fire dangers exposed

One hundred social-housing tower blocks in London face even worse fire risks than Lakanal House in Camberwell, where six people died in July, says the BBC.

It claims that councils have failed to fire check at least 253 social housing high-rise buildings - which is a criminal offence.

A BBC London team found that while Lakanal House had been given a medium-risk rating on a scale used by councils, thousands of residents live in accommodation condemned as high risk.

One of the worst boroughs is Hounslow, where 21 of 37 towers rated high risk face dangers described as “off the Richter scale” by a surveyor who was part of a BBC investigation.

Meanwhile, ten boroughs admit to having one or more high-risk towers, meaning that they are likely to experience “an extremely harmful event”.

Other boroughs with large numbers of high-risk towers include Barnet, Redbridge, Havering, Haringey and Greenwich.

Readers' comments (1)

  • The Regulatory Reform Fire Safety Order legislation requires all buildings, indeed all businesses employing more than 5 people, to have a risk assessment and in the case of apartment blocks the RA applies to the areas of common access. When the legislation came into force in 2006 these assessments replaced the old Fire Certificates and when completed they are dynamic assessments that must be contuially up to date. They are not once and for all reports. This latter fact is not appreciated by many "Responsible Persons", (the term used in the act). For any new building the RA must be in place on DAY 1 but for existing buildings the RA was allowed to be done over an unspecified period of time. 3 years however does seem rather too long for any Responsible Person to take to comply.

    Examination of the PFP or "Built in Fire Protection" is basic part of such an assessment as emphasised in the recent report by Sir Ken Knight into the Lakanal House Disaster and again this is not appreciated by many who undertake such assessments.

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