Rugby tower blocks deemed safe in initial council review

Biart Place has no cladding ENGNNL00120120223105632
Biart Place has no cladding ENGNNL00120120223105632
0
Have your say

An initial review of tower blocks owned by Rugby Borough Council found the cladding does not pose a fire risk but a complete fire safety audit is still to be done.

The ‘urgent’ review found fires in Rugby’s five blocks would be contained to compartments as designed and previous work done to enhance their fire safety is sufficient.

Nothing has been changed or added so far in response to the devastating fire at Grenfell Tower in London which killed dozens of people.

The council is working with Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service to complete a new fire safety audit of its properties to see if any more should be done though.

Portfolio holder for communities and homes Emma Crane said: “Residents are rightly concerned about their flats following the disaster at Grenfell Tower, and we have moved quickly to reassure residents that the design and ongoing maintenance and regular checks of our tower blocks will keep our tenants safe.

“The evidence provided to councillors shows that the work we have done to the blocks has not affected the fire-proof compartments that are fundamental to their safety.

“The findings of our initial review are reassuring but we are in the process of carrying out a completely new fire safety audit of our properties with the fire service to see if there’s more that we should do.”

Councillors heard the council owns five blocks of high rise flats, each of ten storeys, with a total of 313 flats, at a cabinet meeting yesterday (Monday, June 26).

The blocks were built in 1965 and are located at Rounds Gardens and Biart Place, with the blocks at Biart Place having no cladding beyond the concrete panels that they were built with.

The blocks at Rounds Gardens had a brick and fibreglass skin added in 1985, but tests undertaken last week found that these are fire-proof and installed correctly, with no air gap.

Evidence provided in response to the review shows the blocks are designed to contain fires in compartments, and subsequent work to individual flats and to the blocks as a whole has made sure that is the case.

Improvements to fire doors and meter cabinets have introduced further fire safety protection.

In addition, sprinklers were installed in the bin storage areas and a comprehensive CCTV system monitors stairways and landings.

Tenants received up-to-date fire safety information in February, while further copies have been provided on request.

The latest copy of Tenant Times, the newsletter distributed free of charge to all council tenants, includes a special feature on fire safety and highlights the need for residents to keep communal areas, escape routes and fire exits clear.

Details of the report and its findings can be found at www.rugby.gov.uk.