Council to invest in fire safety upgrades to high-rise towers

Sprinklers will be installed “wherever they are needed” in Barnet’s tower blocks as part of an immediate commitment to invest in fire safety across the borough, council leader Richard Cornelius announced today.

His comments came as Barnet Homes carried out an urgent review of fire safety in high-rise housing blocks in the borough, in response to the tragic fire at Grenfell Tower last week. The initial inspection of three recently reclad blocks in Barnet showed that non-combustible insulation materials were used, and that fire stops were properly installed at each level.

Cllr Cornelius said: “All Barnet-owned blocks have up to date Fire Risk Assessments, and comply with fire safety legislation. However, the unprecedented horror of the Grenfell Tower fire has forced everyone to rethink their approach to fire safety in high-rise accommodation.”

Barnet’s Housing Committee will meet on Monday to consider a programme of investment, based on advice from the London Fire Brigade, in order to provide added safety and reassurance to residents. Cllr Cornelius said: “If sprinklers are needed, they will be fitted.”

Barnet Homes, the council-owned company that manages the housing stock, is undertaking an urgent review of cladded housing blocks of five storeys or more within the borough. 

There are ten blocks in total, three of which were reclad in 2012: Granville Point, Harpenmead Point and Templemead point. These three blocks, in Granville Road NW2, were inspected yesterday (Monday, 19 June). 

Following this inspection, it has been established that the cladding system at Granville Road is different to what media reports suggest was used at Grenfell Tower. 

While it contains similar rain screen panels to those reportedly used at Grenfell Tower, crucially it uses different insulation materials, which are made from a non-combustible mineral fibre material. 

In addition, fire stops have been installed at each floor level and around each window. The fire stops are also made of a non-combustible material. 

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