Council acts to check buildings
Page last updated at 07 July 2017 at 16:06
The Council has identified that an Aluminium based cladding material has been used on its Eastleigh House offices.
Aluminium itself is not combustible – it will melt and not burn. The cladding material used on Grenfell Tower incorporated a sandwich layer of material between two aluminium sheets and was found to be combustible. In contrast, the material alongside the aluminum used on the panels on our building has a Class 1 fire rating which means it is highly resistant and will not spread flames quickly.
These panels, that are only used one corner of the building, are of a high quality fire standard and have been approved and signed off by fire officers and building control officers to ensure compliance has been met. It should also be noted that our buildings are designed to ensure the safe evacuation of people working in them and include other measures such as fire doors, alarms, smoke detectors and fire safety escape stairs.
As an extra precaution, the Council is rolling out a programme of fire safety inspections to its entire property portfolio over the next month.
Assessment of fire safety at Eastleigh Borough Council owned buildings - issued 30 June 2107
In the aftermath of the Grenfell Tower fire, Eastleigh Borough Council, in keeping with most UK local authorities and housing providers, has been carrying out precautionary checks on buildings that it owns. This follows guidelines from the Department for Communities and Local Government that requires all residential buildings over a certain height (18-metres) to be assessed.
Although the Council does not own any social housing, we are liaising closely with housing associations and other providers in the borough to ensure that checks are undertaken where buildings meet this criteria.
We have inspected all the high rise buildings within our property portfolio in light of the recent guidelines. We can confirm that some of the cladding on these buildings, which include our main council offices, is made of Aluminium Composite panels. However, the cladding panels we use not only comply with building regulations but are subject to stringent reviews and discussions with fire safety engineers, surveyors, the Hampshire Fire & Rescue Services fire officer and building control. Furthermore, all our buildings comply with the highest fire safety standards under current building regulations.
We also undertake thorough risk assessments to ensure the evacuation strategy is key to any construction project. We are also taking ongoing measures to review all our building stock to ensure they are still operating to best practice in relation to our fire safety and the Council will be rolling out an extensive programme of testing the cladding on its buildings over the coming month.
In addition to guidance from the Department of Communities and Local Government we will work with partners and use our communication channels to ensure that all property owners and landlords within the borough are aware of required fire precautions/regulations.