FirstPort, the property services company for Forum House at Wembley Park have issued the following advice to leaseholders and residents:
Fire Safety and ACM Cladding on part of Forum House
The following information has been issued to keep you fully abreast of the current position in respect of the building in the unlikely event of a fire at the property.
Following the tragedy at Grenfell Tower we have carried out some reviews of the building that we manage, in line with Government (DCLG) advice.
Through this review it has been established that some of the trim on the roof section and parts of the facia of The North Core (above the reception) are partially clad in a silver aluminium cladding material which is referred to as ACM. This relates to a small proportion of the building façade and at this juncture should not give rise to undue concern albeit that we are considering the options and actions open to us.
On receiving this information we contacted the Fire and Rescue Services and also notified the building’s insurers to establish if any immediate action was required. Initial findings are that no immediate action is necessary.
You may have heard it reported that the Government has produced an updated document, setting out fresh guidelines for testing procedure/s. This includes testing the entire cladding system and not just the exterior cladding material. This is important as the systems behind this cladded facia can be key to the structure’s performance in the event of a fire, and the nature of this system can differ significantly from building to building.
As a result we need to consider the further guidance provided from these results before we can definitively conclude if any action or replacement is to be required on Forum House.
In the interim we pro-actively invited the Fire Brigade to carry out an inspection of the building in order to ascertain if there was anything further we can do to enhance fire safety at Forum House. Thankfully they were happy with the processes and strategy we have in place and were satisfied that we operate the development correctly and efficiently in terms of fire safety.
Nevertheless, taking into account the guidance issued by the Fire Brigade at other affected comparable buildings, we have instructed additional patrols of the building by the onsite staff during the night time and I can confirm that these have begun. These will stay in place until further notice.
I would like to take this opportunity to remind you all that a “stay put” policy is in operation at Forum House in the unlikely event of a fire. Homes and developments such as Forum House are built with fire compartmentation, which is designed to resist the passage of fire between the walls and doors giving ample time for the fire services to arrive.
In this way, the fire service are given plenty of time to assess risks and ensure that, if needed, any evacuation is managed in a safe and orderly fashion.
In addition, the communal corridors and escape passages at Forum House are equipped with smoke ventilation systems to improve conditions for means of escape and fire-fighting by limiting obscuration and toxicity in the common escape routes. These systems are tested regularly and in line with manufacturers recommendations.
We understand that there may be concerns around the “stay put” policy at this time. The following remains the guidance from the London Fire Brigade:
“If there is a fire inside your apartment leave, closing the door behind you and call 999. If there is a fire elsewhere in the building, and not inside your own apartment their advice is to stay put. The Fire Service will carry out an evacuation of the other apartments if necessary.”
Further information can be found on http://www.london-fire.gov.uk/staying-in-or-going- out.asp.
We also ask that residents ensure they remove anything that is combustible on their balconies. This is of course a stipulation in your lease but as is apparent from walking around the building there are a number of residents that continue to breach this lease requirement. Barbeques and storing items other than small garden furniture are examples of such breaches. In light of the above, we would ask that you comply with this instruction as a matter of urgency.
Fire safety should be at the forefront of everyone’s mind, and to that end please ensure you are comfortable with the fire procedures, know where the nearest fire exit is and make sure the smoke alarms in your apartment are tested regularly and replaced every 10 years. It is also good practice to close all your apartment’s internal doors when you go to bed at night.
We will advise if any specific action or change is needed and we will continue to keep you updated in relation to this matter. Meanwhile, we will also continue to track any findings or new guidelines and take the appropriate actions.
Finally, should you have any further general questions or queries we would in the first instance refer you to the enclosed statement and guidance relating to fire safety. However, should you have any questions that are not answered by this document then please do not hesitate to contact us.