You will have read a great deal in the press about the impact of the Grenfell fire disaster and the use of certain cladding materials on high rise buildings. I want to give you my assurance that I, personally, am committed 100% to your safety.
In the immediate aftermath of the fire, I asked for a Fire Safety Task Force to be set up at Hyde, made up of specialist staff, taken from their normal duties, along with expert consultants. I personally head up the team and am overseeing its work. The remit of the team is to focus on buildings over six storeys in height, of which Hyde has 105. Of these we have identified one which has ACM cladding, the same type of cladding as that used at Grenfell. This building in Bermondsey is of differing levels but is eight storeys at its highest. We will be removing the cladding but it is important that we make certain the replacement material complies fully with Government guidance, which we are awaiting but expect to receive imminently. In the meantime we have installed a waking watch which is acting as an early warning system and we are working closely with the London Fire Brigade to ensure your safety. In addition to this building, we have identified five buildings in Gosport where, although it is not ACM, we have concerns over the fire safety of the cladding.
We have a current fire risk assessment on all of our properties but these only apply to communal areas such as hallways and stairways. So, I have asked our task force to go further by carrying out “Type Four Surveys.” These extensive tests involve putting cameras into the fabric of the building to ensure that the fire compartmentation that was designed in to the property when it was built has not been breached by maintenance or enhancement work that has been done since. We will need access into some flats to carry out this work but I feel it is important that we have a complete picture so that we can carry out any necessary fire safety work. At the end of the tests we will have a full fire MOT for each of our buildings that will act as a benchmark of their condition and will reassure us that “stay put” is the right action in the event of a fire. We will be carrying out these surveys at every one of our buildings of six storeys or higher and aim to have this completed by next Spring.
If you have any questions about our fire safety task force or its work, please email ResidentFireSafety@hyde-housing.co.uk
Group Chief Executive