This report provides an update on actions taken since the last meeting in September on the Council’s Fire Safety Plus programme and health and safety compliance in residential properties.
David McNulty (Programme Manager) and Graham Coupar (Project Manager) presented the report that provided an update on actions taken since the report to the Committee in September 2017 on the Fire Safety Plus programme and health and safety compliance in residential properties. David McNulty highlighted that all blocks requiring a fire risk assessment had them in place.
Councillor Mark Loveday commented that the Fire Enforcement Notice for Robert Gentry House had been outstanding for some time and the expected resolution date was February 2018 (8.1 of the report). David McNulty replied that the notice concerned the replacement of front doors and while they were in the process of being ordered and fitted it would be a lengthy process due to long waiting times for any quantity of fire doors since Grenfell.
Councillor PJ Murphy asked for a timeline for resolving this issue. Graham Coupar said ordering the doors could take three to four months then fitting them on site could take time as it was difficult to get access to certain properties.
Councillor Mark Loveday felt the Council wasn’t treating this as an urgent issue. He asked for reassurances that the Council was making this a priority. Graham Coupar said work was progressing, officers had met the fire service on the site. All of the ‘quick wins’ had been completed and the longer works were in progress. There was no way to accelerate the delivery and fitting of the doors. Councillor Guy Vincent asked for a timeline of dates to be circulated to members.
ACTION 4: David McNulty
The Chair asked if Adult Social Care were engaged on this – working with vulnerable residents to ensure access to their properties for fitting the new doors. David McNulty said there were issues with access. Where the Council had information about vulnerable residents, solutions were put in place.
Councillor Nicholas Botterill noted that the portable appliance tests (PAT) (6.1.5 of the report) were not a very efficient way of testing electrical goods – they were only useful if everyone took part and if they were carried out regularly. He also expressed surprise that the Council would be replacing white goods free of charge if found to be faulty. David McNulty said the PATs were part of a package of testing and review where all elements of fire safety would be looked at including electrical appliances, smoke alarms, alterations, doors etc. As far as take up of the offer – officers were doing all they could to encourage take up.
Councillor Mark Loveday asked if there was a reason the asbestos register couldn’t be made publicly available to residents (8.2 of the report). David McNulty said it wasn’t currently public but there was no reason it couldn’t be. Councillor Loveday asked if there was a programme for asbestos removals. David McNulty said it was risk based – each case was assessed as it came up.
Councillor Mark Loveday asked if the gas safety post-inspection checks had unearthed any further issues with the checking process (8.3 of the report). Graham Coupar said there hadn’t been any significant failures in the QA process.
Councillor Mark Loveday asked for an update on the performance of electrical safety checks (8.4 of the report) as it has been a particular area of concern for the Committee in the past. Graham Coupar said the checks were broadly on track for the first six months and he hadn’t been advised of any concerns about the quality of the work. Councillor Loveday asked for more detailed figures in this area.
ACTION 5: David McNulty
Councillor Guy Vincent asked whether the Council was actually going to put sprinklers in its tower blocks (5.5 of the report). Graham Coupar said there was a scoping strategy conducted by Colin Todd Associates. This was a high-level and detailed strategy identifying the most logical places to invest, alternative considerations and ongoing maintenance liabilities. Sprinklers were just one of a number of measures – they weren’t the best option for every block. For the 10 storey and above, block feasibilities were being undertaken at Edward Woods and Charecroft estates, which should conclude in February 18.
Councillor PJ Murphy asked when a final decision would be made on sprinklers. Graham Coupar said a feasibility study report would be available in February 2018 and following that, decisions would be made block by block.
The Committee noted the contents of this report and the actions taken to date