Tower block fire disaster prompts safety review

By Farnham Herald in Community News

IN?the wake of the Grenfell Tower disaster, Hampshire County Council (HCC) is undertaking detailed assessments of all cladding materials used in the buildings.

The authority said that of the 9,000 council-owned buildings, including 526 school sites (some of which include numerous buildings) – a very small percentage of Aluminium Composite Material (ACM) is contained in a very small number of buildings. These buildings are predominantly brick-built and the material has been typically used for rain screening.

An HCC spokesperson said: “To date the council has identified one community building (the Dickinson Centre), in the grounds of Park Community School in Havant, which is fully clad with ACM.

“This is a single-storey,

non-residential building which is not used by the school for children’s education. Furthermore, due to being a ground floor premises, evacuation procedures are more straight

forward. On that basis, and in conjunction with advice from Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service, we are not proposing to take any immediate steps – but will keep this position under review in accordance with any changes to national building regulations and subsequent lessons learned from the ongoing national responses to Grenfell Tower.

“The County Council will continue to work closely with staff and the school community around any next steps.”

He added: “At this stage of the detailed assessment, we are aware of a marginal amount of ACM being used on two other buildings on the site of Park Community School. To put this into perspective, of the overall construction materials used, ACM represents far less than five per cent. It has been used as rain screening for exampl on a window sill.”

HCC leader Roy Perry said: “Naturally, in light of the tragic events of Grenfell Tower, our priority has been to immediately assess any buildings of potential risk. As we have previously confirmed, the county council does not have any high-rise residential buildings. Similarly, of our five school buildings that are four-storeys or higher, no ACM cladding has been used. On this basis, I am advised that none of our buildings present any concerns to safety.

“We will of course, continue to watch national developments closely – working closely with our partners in Hampshire Fire and Rescue Authority.

“We have all found the events of Grenfell deeply distressing – and the duty of a county council to keep residents well-informed is a duty I take very seriously.

“That is why I want to continue to make the public aware of our on-going reviews and any actions we may be required to take, to ensure people remain both safe, and confident.”

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