After the recent property fire at the Glenfell London high rise building we at Deacon Crickmay would recommend that any tenants and property owners be aware of the current guidelines laid out by the LGA (Local Government Authority).
Obviously with the latest tragedy no conclusions have been draw, however the spotlight has been shone on property safety.
We would advise any of our clients to check their building and make sure they adhere to the guidelines.
Main issues of concern are:
- Make sure the Fire Risk Assessment is current if not complete one now.
- Property cladding, check if your property has any cladding or panels which are of an Aluminium Composite Material (ACM). Generally ACM is not a problem, however it may be necessary to have it tested to make sure it complies.
- Make sure your property is fully compliant with the FRA.
- Read and check your property Fire Action Plan is current.
- Cladding, if you do have cladding that is ACM have it tested to check if it contains mineral or polyurethane.
- Check any alterations that have been made by tenants are safe.
- Communicate with your tenants whilst making any checks to assure them the building is safe.
- High rise property is most at risk with fire and any building higher than 18m should be checked by a professional.
- The government provides a free handbook for guidance "Fire safety in purpose-built blocks of flats", this will provide you with help in addressing any issues regrading fire safety.
- On occasion maintenance involving "hot work" such as plumbing, flat roofing work and metal work may be necessary. Make sure that the procedures you have in place take account of this type of work.
- Residents need to be made aware of any fire procedures for your property, make sure all signs and literature are up to date and visible.
Aluminium Composite Material Cladding
Aluminium Composite Material (ACM) is a type of flat panel that consists of two thin aluminium sheets bonded to a non-aluminium core, typically between 3 and 7mm thick. The panels can have a painted or metallic finish (eg copper or zinc effects). It can be differentiated from solid aluminium sheet by looking at a cut edge whereby the lamination is visible. It may be necessary to cut a hole in a panel if a cut edge is not readily accessible.
On buildings with a floor over 18m above ground level, where ACM panels are identified, it is necessary to establish whether the panels are of a type that complies with the Building Regulations guidance ie the core material should be a material of limited combustibility or Class A2.1