Below is a list of our most frequently asked fire safety questions following the fire at Grenfell Tower:
- Is there cladding on my building and, if so, what are you going to do about it?
Cladding made of brick or rendered concrete is not a concern. Where cladding has been externally fitted and is not made of brick or concrete, then this would have been fitted before Lewisham Homes took over management of the buildings. We have already made arrangements for samples to be taken of externally-fitted cladding and we will be using Government-approved testing laboratories to find out what the cladding is made of. We will do everything necessary to make you safe.
- Should I still follow the ‘Stay Put’ advice if there is a fire in my building?
The London Fire Brigade (LFB) is still advising that if there is a fire in your flat, or you are affected by a fire, you should leave immediately. However, if there is a fire somewhere else in the building, LFB advises you should shut all doors and windows and stay where you are. Purpose-built maisonettes and blocks of flats are designed and built to give you protection from fire. Walls, floors and doors can usually hold back flames and smoke for 30 to 60 minutes. We advise residents to follow LFB advice. Further details can be seen on their website:
- How often is my building checked to see if it is safe?
All our buildings are regularly risk assessed by an external specialist contractor and we work closely with LFB to ensure they are as safe as possible. We are now carrying out additional fire safety inspections. When our staff see anything in shared areas (including electrical intake cupboards and chute rooms) that could present a serious fire hazard – such as buggies or bicycles – we may remove the items without notice.
- My building doesn’t have a sprinkler system. Will you install one?
Buildings that don’t have a sprinkler system are designed in a way that slows down the spread of the fire (see above). Lewisham Homes recognises the benefit of sprinkler systems and is already installing them in all new developments. Once the Grenfell Tower investigations are complete we will be in a better position to know what type of sprinklers we might need to install.
- My building doesn’t have an alarm system. Will you install one? Can we have a fire drill?
Buildings that don’t have an alarm system are designed in a way that slows down the spread of the fire (see above). Installing alarms, and having a fire drill to evacuate the building, is at odds with the ‘Stay Put’ policy (LFB advises residents should stay in their flat if they are not directly at risk of a fire). False alarms can also happen quite often, for example, caused by people smoking in shared areas. LFB advice is that having smoke alarms in individual flats is a much better early-warning system. You should check that you have one and make sure it’s working on a regular basis.
- My building only has one staircase. Will you build another one?
Most buildings with one staircase were built in the 1960 and 1970s. They were designed in a way that means if a fire occurs in a flat, the flat would prevent the fire from spreading quickly and give time for the fire service to attend and put the fire out. A second staircase was not considered necessary. However, Lewisham Homes will further consider what changes need to be made once the investigation into Grenfell Tower is completed.
- Who should I contact, if I have any questions or other concerns?
Contact our Housing Management team on 0800 028 2 028 or email.