Thursday 15 June 2017

UPDATE: Cllr Butt reassures Brent high-rise tenants on Fire Risk Assessments and compliance

Twitter post earlier today
 Cllr Muhammed Butt, leader of Brent Council, has made the following statement in the wake of the Grenfell Tower tragedy.
Following the terrible scenes from the fire at Grenfell Tower, our thoughts are with all those affected. We have been in contact with our neighbours in Kensington and Chelsea to offer any help and assistance we can at this difficult time.

Many residents living in high-rise blocks across the country will naturally be concerned and I want to reassure tenants and leaseholders that, in Brent, all of our Fire Risk Assessments (FRA) are up-to-date in all high rise properties and we are 100% compliant also.

Fire safety is the number one priority for anyone's home and we continually review our fire risk assessments, servicing and maintenance programmes in all accommodation blocks to ensure our residents are kept safe.

The council works closely with London Fire Brigade and meets regularly with them, both on an operational and fire safety level.

As a council, working with Brent Housing Partnership, we are doing all that we can to keep our residents safe from the devastating consequences of a major fire, but you can help too by following this advice:
  • Make sure you have a working smoke alarm in your home
  • Keep balconies free from clutter
  • Please don't leave rubbish or bikes in communal areas or obstruct escape routes
  • Make sure you know where your nearest fire exit is
  • If you are a smoker please do not smoke in common areas of the block
  • Always fully extinguish cigarettes smoked in your home and dispose of them carefully and safely
Given the large number of new high-rise private blocks in the Wembley Stadium  Quintain development it would be useful to know what fire precautions have been built into these developments as well as detail on the cladding used.


High rise tower blocks developed by Quintain in Wembley Park

In a response to concerned residents, Cllr Butt sent this fuller message today:
I am sure that you are shocked and horrified at the tragedy that has unfolded over the last two days in Kensington and the tragic loss of life in the fire that ravaged the Grenfell Tower.

Our thoughts, prayers and sympathies are with the families, friends and for all those who have lost their lives and those that have been injured in this incident. The police and fire brigade are working flat out to make sure  that they bring this incident to close soon so that the process of reflection can proceed, and once again they have demonstrated great professionalism in helping to keep us all safe, I cannot thank them enough for all their hard work and dedication.

Myself and Carolyn Downs ( Chief Exec) have made contact with the Leader and the chief exec of Kensington to offer our full support for any assistance that they may need. I have also been  in contact with the leaders of Hammersmith & Fulham, Ealing and Harrow and we have all collectively agreed to offer our assistance at any time which has been communicated to Kensington.

I have also been in contact with representatives for the Mayor of London , and we are all united in offering our help and support across London from all our respective boroughs.

As you may be aware each council has emergency procedures and systems in place in case an incident occurs, and Kensington has instigated those systems and procedures at the moment. They have setup respite centres and are they are actively working with their neighbours in Westminster council, we have offered to help with any assistance that they may need and we will immediately respond to any request when made, Carolyn has been in touch and they are able to cope with what they need to deliver.

Their  Website currently has a message that reads “ The Council would like to thank all those who have made generous donations of accommodation, food, clothing and other items. We would ask you to please hold off for now as we have been inundated with useful items. When we need donations again we will update via our website and social media.

You can find more information about the respite centres and how you can signpost people and organisations who may want to offer help and support from this link:

I have made a statement about fire safety in our buildings which you can read here:

We have 37 high-rise blocks in Brent and all 37 are Fire Risk Assessment (FRA) compliant. All new blocks like the ones in Wembley etc are built using new construction methods and rigorously inspected through building control, as part of the planning process the issues around fire safety are absolutely discussed and are paramount.

Resident safety is our number one concern and in light of this incident, a number of actions have been implemented to allay any fears that residents living in those blocks may have.

In addition, all relevant media platforms have been updated for resident awareness and reassurance of our fire management and further notifications will be sent in due course. 

We have received many queries from councillors and from residents and these briefings are being sent out to assure everyone that we are absolutely serious about the concerns and will continue to make sure that we allay those fears, which are completely understandable.

It’s been great to see the communities coming together to help and support the people affected by the fire, and that community spirit is also being shown here in Brent, Mosques and churches have come together to provide the support to those who are affected, I have also been contacted by a developer who is willing to offer his development for people who may need it and I have also been contacted by a local community organisation that is willing to help prepare food for the opening of the fast and will provide other support around shelter and accommodation if required. If a request comes through anything else to help the effort in Kensington I can assure we will not hesitate to help, whether it is for accommodation, personnel or anything else.

We are also looking at setting up a collection point for items that can be delivered to the people who are affected, as I have been asked if we can do this once we have spoken to all concerned we will send out the details for any collection points , if there is anyone who wants to help and volunteer please pass on the details as follows :. If you would like to volunteer to help with the support effort please register your interest by emailing including your name, contact number and availability. Please also let us know if you have any specialist skills.  They also had a phone number 020 7361 3008

A page has been setup where you can make a financial donation here :

The council is working to make sure that everyone who needs the help and support from us , will receive it and we will continue to liaise with Kensington & Council and its residents in their time of need.

The Kilburn Times LINK reports that Brent Council has devised a 6 point action plan in reaction to the Grenfell House fire:
In a report shown to the Brent&Kilburn Times, housing chiefs have set up a six-point action plan which includes checks that claddings applied to the outside of buildings are fire rated.

They are also liaising with the London Fire Brigade (LFB) to seek clarity and guidance around the “self evacuation” vs “stay put” briefing as many block residents are told to stay in their properties in the event of a fire.

There are 37 high rise blocks in Brent which the council said are all “Fire Risk Assessment compliant”.

Over the next 72 hours, visits will take place to all high-rise properties to enforce the removal of residents’ belongings from communal parts of the buildings where necessary.

A customer response team is to report any fire safety concerns raised by residents that “have or have not been attended to and /or completed”.

A former fire project manager who oversaw upgrade works in 2015 is to confirm all cladded properties are fire-rated and signed off by the council.

They are also liaising with Wates, the council’s preferred building contractor, to “discuss any outstanding actions to ensure fire safety defects are remedied without delay”.

On Thursday I emailed the Brent Council Press Desk with the following request.
I am receiving queries about the safety of the new towers in the Quintain development in Wembley which are of course private.

Could you comment (presumably via Planning) on fire precautions demanded of the developers (2 x fire escapes, sprinklers in flats and common areas, alarm systems, material used for cladding).
I have recieved no response (time now 21.55 Friday)


Unknown said...

What is known about the fire risk of the cladding being put on some high rise buildings such as at the Watling Gdns Estate?

Anonymous said...

So, according to Mo, Brent's own tower blocks are safe from fire.
Perhaps the Council will think again about approving more and more, higher and higher, tower blocks in Wembley and elsewhere? A fire in even one of them would be one avoidable disaster too many.

Anonymous said...

What about the allegations in South Kilburn by residents that Brent has been running down the estate so they can gentrify it too?

Pete Firmin said...

I, for one, remain unreassured. Not only tower blocks are being clad, so can we be reassured that Fire Standards checks will be carried out on them all? Further, one of the many things brought to light by the Grenfell tragedy is that Building Standards have been relaxed and not monitored. Regeneration in South Kilburn has produced many building faults in newly built properties. What is Brent going to do to ensure standards are raised and properly monitored? Grenfell residents raised concerns for years and were ignored. Brent ignores the concerns of residents around its regeneration. Will this change?:

Anonymous said...

"We are 100 per cent compliant" with Fire Risk Assessments says Butt.
Compliant with what Standards?

The cladding was banned in the United States for buildings above 40 metres, but not here.

Pete Firmin said...

Brent and BHP are saying they are 100% compliant and fire checks have been carried out. One simple request - publish all reports on the Council website so we can see for ourselves.

Alison Hopkins said...

I don't understand why they're liaising with Wates. They have the repairs contracts. Major Works are let on a contract by contract basis and use a variety of companies. None of the ones I know of were done by Wates.

Pete is spot on. I am also deeply worried about the standard of HA built housing, having seen forst hand how badly some is done.

Anonymous said...

Compliant to what standard. Publish them.