Landlords urged to check cladding to ensure residents’ safety

West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service (WYFRS) is reminding private landlords of their responsibility to check their buildings and send cladding samples off for testing where necessary.

The Building Research Establishment is continuing to carry out free testing of Aluminium Composite Material (ACM) cladding samples from across the country, on behalf of the Department for Communities and Local Government.

In addition to this, more sophisticated tests have begun which look at how ACM cladding behaves in combination with different types of insulation and over a larger surface area.

It is these test results which will determine whether cladding should be removed from a high-rise building, categorised as at least six storeys or 18 metres in height.

Senior Fire Protection Manager for WYFRS Chris Kemp said: “It’s really important that landlords or managing agents of high-rise buildings across West Yorkshire do check the cladding on their buildings and if it is Aluminium Composite Material then send it off for testing in line with the national process.

“The majority of combustibility tests carried out on cladding have so far come back as failures. Upon notification of this the Fire Service take quick action to visit and assess the building and ensure the Responsible Person puts in place further measures to reduce the risk of fire breaking out in the first place. We also check that key fire protection measures, for example fire doors and self-closers which prevent the spread of fire, are present and working.

“On the whole, landlords have been diligent in their duties, but we do not want anyone to turn a blind eye or fall through the net.

“If landlords do not engage in the checking and testing process then the Fire Service will not be aware should their buildings pose a risk.”

Once the Fire Service receives notification of a cladding test failure, it is also taking the precautionary measure of sending more fire engines should there be a confirmed fire at the premises.

This is currently set at six fire engines and two further engines with aerial reach capacity.

Mr Kemp added: “The responsibility to check the composition of the cladding is that of the landlord or managing agent and we cannot stress enough how vital it is that they do so.”

The Building Research Establishment has published advice on their website including Frequently Asked Questions, which can be found here: https://www.bre.co.uk/grenfelltower#faqs

The Department for Communities and Local Government has also published advice for building owners following the results of the first phase of large scale wall system testing.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/advice-for-building-owners-large-scale-wall-system-test

 

Fire Protection

All businesses and most premises other than single private dwellings have legal duties to keep people safe from fire. Our team of dedicated fire protection officers routinely carry out audits of premises where the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 applies. If you’re concerned about a fire risk which may be a danger to life you can contact our Fire Protection Team at fire.safety@westyorksfire.gov.uk  or alternatively call 0113 3875738.

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