Fire, Security and Safety

Sprinkler used for fire safety in high rise buildings

How one housing association has led the way with the installation of a state-of-the-art sprinkler system

Housing associations across the country are reviewing fire safety equipment and procedures post Grenfell, yet installation of new fire safety measures is not without its difficulties in high rise flats.

Minimising disruption, creating something that looks aesthetically pleasing and communicating with a diverse range of tenants all have their challenges.

One housing association in Cornwall has taken action and retrofitted a sprinkler system into the county’s only high rise block of flats, Park House. Built in the late 1960s, the 36-metre high building in St Austell is owned by Ocean Housing, and comprises 67 flats across 12 floors.

Ralph Garth, head of health and safety for Ocean Housing explains how the organisation went about a £300,000 sprinkler re-fit. He said, “Following the Grenfell enquiry and subsequent Hackitt review, it was established that Ocean Housing manages its properties well, with no significant improvements required.

LED lighting - a safer lighting alternative

Fire and safety are a constant worry for landlords and tenants, but there are some changes you could be implementing to reduce the risk of these hazards. Here, David Boultbee, Technical Consultant at Ultra LEDs tells us why LED lighting is a much safer option than other lighting solutions.

Lighting is important for any building. It improves visibility and increases home security. But some light bulbs aren’t as safe as you might think. And, with faulty wiring and electrical outlets being such a dangerous risk for homeowners and landlords, you’ll need to make sure that your lighting is as safe as possible to reduce the risk of fires and harm to occupiers. Below, I’ll be outlining just some of the ways that LEDs are a safer lighting alternative to traditional forms of lighting. 

Fire on a staircase in an apartment building
When quality doesn’t always come as standard.

As a consumer we seek confidence that the product we buy or the service we use will meet our expectations or possibly even exceed them. Needless to say, we all have differing levels of acceptance on quality, service and value. 

This confidence in quality is even more important when it comes to products that are designed to keep us safe. We’ve started by exploring some of the more well-known examples of safety innovations and standards. 

How getting people to belt up has saved countless lives. 

The first seatbelt was invented and patented in 1885 by Edward J Claghorn, yet it took another 74 years until the first three-point belt was developed by Nils Bohlin.

The three-point seatbelt was first installed in a car, as a standard item, in 1959 by Volvo. But it wasn’t until 1970 that a country, Australia, made it a legal requirement to wear seatbelts. Other countries followed and added a substantial public broadcasting effort to change the mindset of drivers and later passengers.

door set fasteners

Rapierstar’s specialist technical support has played a key role in helping West Port to achieve high performing fire rated door-sets, by eliminating the risk of failure during testing as a result of the incorrect choice and application of fasteners.

Rapierstar, which is the UK’s market-leading supplier of window and door fasteners, is recommending that fire door manufacturers follow West Port’s lead and not overlook the major role that these smallest of components play in a door-set’s structural integrity, durability and long term quality. West Port door-sets offer outstanding performance in either 30-minute or 60-minute options, providing installers with a trusted fire protection solution.

Fire Door Closers

Visiting customers over the past few weeks, something that has come up in conversation is the problem of residents damaging or disabling fire door closers. This is not only a safety issue, but it also invalidates the insurance and can lead to big fines for non-compliance with fire regulations.

In sheltered housing, many front doors are fire doors and therefore fitted with door closers. This ensures the door will be closed in the event of a fire, and the spread of fire and smoke will be prevented. Residents will then have more time to evacuate safely or can remain in a fire safe compartment until the emergency services arrive.


Zeroignition's Glyn Coates on fire protection in MMC

Increasing pressure on contractors to deliver bigger, quicker and cheaper builds can result in mistakes that can sometimes cost lives. The construction industry shoulders much responsibility, so the importance of making fundamental changes to methods of working is immeasurable. Glyn Coates from Zeroignition looks at the flaws in traditional methods of construction – and the solutions offered by adopting an off-site approach, particularly when concerning fire protection.

Select the right contractor

A finished building should be fully compliant and fit-for-purpose. To accomplish this it is essential projects are designed, specified and constructed by accredited professionals. However, it appears in practice that many contracts are awarded to the lowest bidder rather than to well researched and vetted companies.

Aico's 3000 series group

Aico will be exhibiting at the Chartered Institute of Housing’s (CIH) ‘Housing 2019 Conference & Exhibition’ in Manchester Central, 25th – 27th June on stand D20.