Last year following the terrible tragedy at Grenfell Tower in London, we wrote to every household where a fire risk assessment is required. In this letter we explained about our work on fire safety and included the fire risk assessments that we carry out in those block you can find summaries of these here
Since then the UK and Welsh Governments have been reviewing fire safety. In regards to fire doors they have identified a safety concern which we want to tell you about. (The Welsh Government Guidance can be found here – Cover letter , Fire door guidance ). They have found that a number of composite fire doors provided less than their certified 30 minute resistance. It seems that the tests that were used to certify the doors didn’t follow the specification in Building Regulations. We along with other landlords bought and installed doors on the basis that their certification was robust. This issue affects every composite fire rated door across the UK. We are starting a programme to replace composite fire doors. Which will mean replacing the front doors to a number of flats?
A number of different manufacturers are currently testing new fire doors and we have been advised that they will be on the market in the next few weeks.
It’s important to repeat the advice of the National Fire Chiefs, who state that this represents a “low risk” in terms of safety of lives. We have also met with South Wales Fire and Rescue and the Tenant Safety Forum and Residents Fire Safety Forum) who represent tenants at MVH on fire safety issues) to discuss our plans to manage this new issue. The way we intend to manage it is to take a risk-based approach to replacing affected doors in the following blocks of flats:
- Adrian Stephens House, Gellideg
- Caerdraw (all the blocks including St Tydfils Court), Merthyr Tydfil
- Cefn Isaf, Cefn Coed
- Forsythia Close, Gurnos
- Haydn Terrace Block 107, Penydarren
- Haydn Terrace Block 108, Penydarren
- Maesygarreg Flats, Cefn Coed
- Pontsarn Flats, Pontsarn, Merthyr Tydfil
- Sunnybank Flats, Brecon Road, Merthyr Tydfil
- Swn Yr Afon, Cefn Coed
- Taf Fechan House, Gellideg
- The Green, Trefechan
We are using risk assessment to prioritise what order we replace doors in. So we will be replacing affected front doors in blocks, starting with blocks where the front doors are the main way of controlling fire spread, then blocks where further fire control measures are in place, ending with blocks with a multi-layered approach to fire control. Some blocks have more layers than others because they are a different risk for tackling or escaping a fire, for example, a high rise block will have more control measures than a set of maisonettes with a balcony escape.
This issue has come out of the Grenfell Inquiry, and so could not be planned for, but nor can we wait. We are finding the money from existing budgets and will prioritise this work over other things. We will start work on replacing high priority doors in the next month, as soon as a newly certified product becomes available and can be fitted, and will then do the remaining lower risk doors over the next 12 to 18 months.
Please help us by providing access to our staff and contractors so we can undertake checks and servicing of safety features, including smoke and heat detectors, electrics and gas fired equipment (e.g. boiler checks) as this all reduces fire risk.
In the event of a fire
We are responsible for risk assessments, the buildings design and construction, and the maintenance of detection systems and alarms (where fitted). But as the resident of your home, you also have responsibilities and need to make sure that you think about the safety of yourself and your family in the event of a fire.
We can’t give you specific instructions on what to do in the event of a fire because there are many factors which affect the likelihood of a fire starting in your home, such as whether or not you smoke, the condition and use of electrical appliances, and where you store combustible materials. And there are a number of factors which would influence your decision on when and how to escape a fire, but which only you would know about or be able to see. So in the event of a fire you will need to assess the situation and decide whether to evacuate, and how to evacuate safely. In planning what do in a fire the Community Safety Division of South Wales Fire and Rescue Service offer free Home Fire Safety Visits which can be booked with them directly:
Freephone: 0800 169 1234
Working with your neighbours helps us all
We all want to make our homes as safe as possible and hopefully we will all do our bit but one way of improving the safety for everyone is for you and your neighbours to work together and think about fire safety as a group. This could include supporting each other to reduce potential fire risks, making sure exits are clear, thinking about how rubbish and recycling is done safely and making sure that you meet the new people who move into your block and talk about how together you can all be safer.
If you think that fire safety is as important as we do why not join or get in touch with our Residents Fire Safety Forum. We will share information and update you on things like risk assessment, please get in touch with us 0800 085 7843.