Residents to be invited to view flat with sprinkler system

Published: Friday 16th March 18

Tower block residents will be invited during the coming months to look around an example of what a flat with fire suppression sprinklers installed looks like.

Cllr Salier and Brian Reilly with an example of a sprinkler system

Based on advice from the London Fire Brigade and a range of industry experts, the council announced last year with cross-party support a programme to retro-fit sprinklers in 99 high rise blocks in the borough that are ten storeys or above to bring them up to current standards and improve fire safety in around 6,400 homes.

The council has since pro-actively referred the matter to a First Tier Property Tribunal, which will investigate the viability and rechargeability of the proposal looking at the council’s lease agreement and listening to any concerns leaseholders have.

Since 2007 national building regulations have required all new-build high rise blocks of 10 storeys or more to install sprinkler fire suppression systems.

The council will continue to seek additional funding from central government to assist with these and other fire safety works, and leaseholders would be given an extended interest-free period of 48 months to cover the estimated £4,000 cost of installation if the works proceed. Tenants will not be charged any additional sums for these works as their contribution is covered by their rent.

Modern accredited sprinkler systems are activated by heat rather than smoke and operate on an individual room-by-room basis. Installations are discreet, with pipework hidden, and accidental activations exceptionally rare.

Cllr Clare Salier, Cabinet Member for Housing, was shown the flat, which is nearing completion, on 16 March by the council’s Director of Housing and Regeneration, Brian Reilly.

She said: “The safety of tenants and leaseholders is of the utmost importance, and while the First Tier Property Tribunal investigates and hears representations from leaseholders, a detailed process which could take some time, this is an opportunity for our residents to see first hand what a modern sprinkler fire suppression system looks like, and it’s rather impressive.”

When the flat is completed the council will arrange for residents and Residents Associations to come and have a look around.

A sprinkler system fitted in to a hallway

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Recent comments

The show flat is a non-functioning mock-up. It is not connected to a water supply. I have been provided with written confirmation that the water supply pipes will be installed in the communal areas of each block, which seems likely to be extremely unsightly. I have also been provided with written confirmation that in the case of my block (Edgecombe House) the lowered ceiling in the hallway (which hides the unsightly plumbing within the show flat) will not be installed. In my view the show flat is at best inadvertently misleading and at worst a cynical exercise in misrepresentation. I would encourage all residents to check whether WBC intends to hide the internal plumbing above a lowered ceiling within their specific building.
Paul Granger

20 July 2018

I will feel much safer when our sprinkler system has been installed. Please also install sprinklers in the communal areas, especially as there is only one flight of stairs in our block. We are leaseholders and believe that, in spite of the expense, the value of our property will be greatly enhanced by this welcome safety measure. I can't help wondering if anti sprinkler sentiment is being voiced by private landlords rather than owner occupiers. I hope I'm wrong. The more gradually we are able to pay for these works, the better.
Gill Jones

7 June 2018

I will never allow you to destroy my home with your ridiculous sprinkler systems! This idea is a complete waste of time and money!
Patricia Owen

27 April 2018

WBC has recently invited the residents of high rise blocks to inspect their infamous sprinklers installed in the show flat at 101 Sudbury House. I must congratulate Council officers on their sense of humour as the number 101 has reminded me of the torture room from the novel 1984 by George Orwell. The poor workmanship of bulky pipe casing has failed to impress us! Mr Reilly, would you consider fitting this monstrosity in your property? The 'show' flat should look exemplary not scary! Not a single visitor felt encouraged to ruin their flat with this eyesore, in the name of ‘safety’! NO, THANK YOU, WBC! I bought my flat in the high rise block in 1987, have paid the full price and it was deemed SAFE! Not anymore! Who has lied to us?
Alexandra Brieger

27 April 2018

Every decision about which fire safety improvements should be made to which buildings should be entirely evidence-based, after assessing each individual building, rather than blindly prioritising buildings which are merely a similar shape to Grenfell Tower. I'm also concerned that the fitting of sprinklers would be carried out at a relatively high price for relatively low-quality work & materials, as I've recently experienced with major works. I heard that the Council wants to fit sprinklers to give residents peace of mind. I've been a resident/leaseholder for 10 years & already have peace of mind about fire safety in my building, but sending me a bill of £4k or more for unnecessary work would have a terrible effect on my peace of mind!
Stephen H

27 March 2018

The offer of 48 months interest-free is a genuine offer, should be extended to 60 months for all leaseholders (5 years), provided the true marginal cost and not the average cost of sprinklers is applied.
Kaleem Mirza

23 March 2018

The council charge some of the most expensive rents in London and are hoarding rental income, see the accounts of WBC, so they could fund it through their own resources. However, a lot of Leaseholders are sitting on windfall capital gains, especially if they own their property for 10 years or more. Obviously, following Grenfell, the problem of fire safety is a real one and thus the changes are needed. Without the sprinklers, these flats would fall in value so the leaseholders need to understand this point, however, building regulations and enforcement action poor. WBC should not be charging the full cost of the sprinklers, but the marginal cost, especially if a block is, say, 80% council and 20% private.
Kaleem Mirza

23 March 2018

Agree with all comments above, on top of that council has always underestimate cost of all work so far done to my flat . £4K it’s just the start. Total cost will be much greater.
Bartosz

21 March 2018

www.youtube.com/watch?v=OtuuhGL6OHc
Fraudster

20 March 2018

We need a completely independent risk assessment on a individual block by block basis the work is a specialised job so is the estimated cost right there are many questions that need to be answered
Tony arthur

20 March 2018

We all would accept the sprinkler system if the councilors that insist on them install it on their own houses first. If they are happy to have them in their houses we will be too.
lenny

20 March 2018

THE COUNCIL AS FAR AS WE ARE CONCERNED WE HAVE NOT BEEN CONSULTED ABOUT SPRINKLER INSTALLATION THEREFORE THE COUNCIL SHOULD FORK OUT FOR IT. IT IS ENOUGH FOR THE COUNCIL TO TREAT US INSIGNIFICANT PEOPLE THAT WE ARE JUST HERE TO PICK UP THEIR BILLS AND HAVE NO SAY IN THIS MATTER THAT OBVIOUSLY CONCERNS US ALL. WE SHALL FIGHT THE COUNIL WITH THIS ATTROCIUOS IDEA THAT WILL CAUSE US PROBLEMS TOGETHER EVEN IF IT HAS TO GO TO THE PARLIAMENT SO BE IT!!
Saida

20 March 2018

NO SPRINKLERS IN INDIVIDUAL FLATS PLEASE!! THIS IDEA HAS NO GROUNDS AS IT IS EXTORTIONATE AMOUNT OF MONEY TO HAVE TO PAY FOR AND SOMETHING THAT WILL CAUSE A LOT OF PROBLEMS IN THE FUTURE. WHY DOES THE COUNCIL NOT INSTALL THE SPRINKLERS IF THEY INSIST ON IT IN THE COMMUNAL HALLWAY AT THEIR OWN COST, AFTER ALL, IT RELATES TO THE FIRE AND SAFETY TO THE BLOCK AND WE DO NOT OWN THE BLOCK. !!
Maggie T

20 March 2018

No Need for Sprinklers in individual flats this has also been confirmed by the Fire Assessment Report so why insist to install them for the sake of it and charge us loads of money for it. Will the Counil reimburse me with compensation money should I have a faluty sprinklers and have flooding in my flat because of it. Will the Counil Replace everything that was at the start of installation of sprinklers? We have Two Fire Exits in Tunworth Crescent and there has not been such a fire as that of Grenfell Tower we all know it was due to lack of fireproof ladding put on the block. No Need for Sprinklers and furthermore NO NEED FOR REHARGING THE LEASEHOLFERS FOR UNNNECESSARY WORK.!
Edyta

20 March 2018

The council is ripping us off. We have to pay astronomical service charges and starve in dept. Grenfell tower tragedy wouldn't have happened if the stupid cladding wasn't installed. Why this Council is so interested in our safety that is determined to run us dry? We can't catch up with the bills that the council is sending us for works that aren't necessary. All this has to stop now. Enough is enough. We don't want our homes to be turned to car parks with water sprinklers overhead, we live there trying to get on with our life. Leave us alone.
leasholder21

19 March 2018

Having attended the councils meetings on this matter I can tell you their attitude towards hearing leaseholders’s view on this have been negative and limited. A blanked wide approach to this is both costly and inefficient and this whole thing is a “knee jerk” reaction to a great tradgidy. Assess the blocks properly as they have passed their fire safety tests year on year. Have the rules changed now? Where exactly does the council expect us to find 4K to fund this spending spree. No interest in this in my house. You want to make the blocks safer. Install them in the corridors. Issue us fire extinguishers and blankets. Don’t make alterations to the inside of my home without my permission and then hand me the bill.
James Turner

19 March 2018

Re sprinklers. It is not at all justifiable to go ahead with a blanket insertion of sprinklers at great cost and inconvenience to residents and cost of potential damage if the system goes off accidentally - the damage could also badly affect all the floors blow too. The cost of insuring against such accidents would be prohibitive too. A block by block assessment to see if a system is really necessary would be much more fair.
N.Plummer

19 March 2018

ok so my flats not safe wthout a sprinkler? you sold it to me as safe as 2014, yet state since 2007 sprinklers have been reccomended, so if it now does not comply then you sold me a property with a known saftey issue requiring a large future cost and ongoing cost, so you should pay and compensate us. right or wrong?
TAXPAYER

19 March 2018

ITS A CASH GRAB BY THE COUNCIL, THEY WILL PROFIT GREATLY FROM THESE UNEEDED WORKS, THE FLATS SIMPLY DO REQUIRE THESE, THE FIRE BRIGADE HAS "NEVER" REC SPRINKLERS IN THE RISK ASSESSMENTS UNDERTAKEN, 4K YOU WANT TO CHARGE! 1.8 WAS THE INDIPENDANT QUOTE, THEN THERE IS ONGOING MAINTENANCE THAT WILL COST NMORE EVERY YEAR, AND THE WORK WILL NOT ONLY BE UNNECESSARY BUT SHODDY AND TO A PRICE POINT. I URGE EVERYONE LEASEHOLDER OR RENTER SAY NO. THIS WILL BE AN ONGOING RISING COST IF YOU ALLOW IT. GO FIND ALTON LEASEHOLDERS GROUP ON FB, SEVERAL LEASEHOLDERS HAVE STARTED TO GATHER AS WE ARE SICK OF TH PROFITEERING AT OUR EXPENSE, COURT CHALLENGES WILL BE BROUGHT. THE MORE SUPPORT FOR NO THE MORE CHANCE YOU HAVE OF NOT GETTING RIPPED OF!
LEASEHOLDER

19 March 2018

I read that you were going to charge council tenants for this, is it true?
c. ostrer

18 March 2018

Hullo WBC How much is this going to cost leaseholders? Thanks - Ian
Ian Bull

17 March 2018