Octavia Housing have updated residents in Elizabeth House, Wembley, on fire precautions at their building.
The most important change, especially in the light of Grenfell, is that they should evacuate in the event of a fire rather than stay put:
CURRENT SITUATION – A CHANGE IN EVACUATION POLICYOn Wednesday 11 October the Fire Brigade visited the building because they have recently reviewed their national approach to buildings that have Aluminium Composite Material (ACM) cladding.They asked for an updated Fire Risk Assessment in light of their new guidance and we are in the process of collecting the information they now need but in the meantime, as a short term measure, the fire evacuation policy has been changed.In the event of a fire, residents should leave the building immediately. This is a change from the Stay Put policy that was in place.While we have been told that this may only be a temporary change, we have visited Elizabeth House to speak to residents and you will have seen letters and posters informing you about this change. We have also increased the numbers of 24/7 fire watch wardens in place. The cost of these additional measures will not be passed on to residents. We are also looking at longer term solutions which may include increased CCTV.We want to reassure you that we will continue to act upon all advice from the London Fire Brigade or our experts and we will keep you informed.CLADDING WORKS UPDATEAn approach to replacing the cladding has been agreed with the contractor.The replacement system needs to be tested in full by the Building Research Establishment (who have been responsible for doing the testing of cladding that has been going on all over the UK over the last few months) before we can start the job of replacing cladding over all the building.There are a lot of buildings that are affected all over the UK and so there is a wait for tests but in the meantime, we can start a small pilot project to replace cladding at ground floor level and on the communal terraces situated on the ground, 2nd and 10th floors. This will speed up the process for works on the rest of the building when we get the necessary approvals.Preparation work will be happening from October 2017 to do further tests. We plan to start pilot works in January 2018 and we expect that the rest of the works will start in May/June 2018. These dates may change depending on how quickly the required tests can be done.VISITS TO PROPERTIESFollowing advice received from the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) we need to visit every property in Elizabeth House and carry out an inspection. This will enable us to:• Check resident’s’ ability to evacuate the building independently so that we can inform the Fire Brigade if anyone will need extra assistance.• Check balconies and flat entrance doors to ensure they are safe and free from fire hazards and flammable materials• Ensure all residents know how to check their smoke and heat alarms These visits will begin the week commencing 16 October and will take between 15-30 minutes. If you would like us to visit you at a particular time, please let us know by emailing email@example.com or calling our Customer Contact Team on 020 8354 5500. In order to manage the visits, please let us know by 5pm on Friday 20 October. It is vital that we are able to gain access to your property to carry out these important checks. If you are not at home when we visit and would prefer to arrange a convenient time for us to visit again, please contact our Customer Contact Team on 020 8354 5500 or firstname.lastname@example.org.