Fire sprinkler systems
More than 4.5 kilometres of ‘Versa’ fire sprinkler boxing from Encasement is being used to conceal surface mounted fire sprinkler pipework, which has been retro-fitted at four South Tyneside Council tower blocks in Hebburn and Jarrow to help protect more than 280 residents.
Even though an independent fire inspection and level four fire risk assessment declared the high-rise residential blocks to be safe, the council chose to continue with the £1.4 million automatic sprinkler installation programme as part of its commitment to tenant safety and fire protection.
For more than 20 years, UK Boxings has been manufacturing its wide range of pipe boxing at its Chesterfield site to meet the needs of social housing contractors, local authorities and housing associations requiring a quick, cost effective and robust method of concealing interior pipework.
Manufactured from 9mm thick moisture resistant MDF, our products are already used in ongoing repair, maintenance and improvement (RMI) projects to hide unsightly heating system pipework, boiler pipes and flues, as well as concealing fire sprinkler system pipework in high rise blocks.
Even though fire sprinkler systems are to form an important part of the Phase 2 Grenfell Tower Inquiry, which began in January this year, many pro-active HA and local authority landlords have already started implementing major programmes of fire protection upgrades, including the retro-fitting of fire sprinklers.
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.
As residential fire safety, particularly in multi-storey buildings and tower blocks have been the centre of attention since last June, the groundswell of opinion is clearly behind the installation of fire sprinkler systems as part of a multi-million pound programme of fire protection upgrades.
While discussions continue regarding how the work is being funded, it appears that local authorities and housing associations are likely to make a significant contribution to the cost, so it’s inevitable that ‘value’ and ‘cost effectiveness’ will form part of the tendering procedures that are already taking place.