PCH pays respects to victims of Grenfell

PCH pays respects to victims of Grenfell

A year ago many lives were lost and others changed forever as a result of the Grenfell Tower fire, and the effects of that tragic event are still being felt today. All staff at PCH would like to pay their respects to the victims of Grenfell and share our deepest sympathy with their families and friends.

The best possible mark of respect we can pay to victims and survivors is to make sure we do everything we can as a country to ensure a tragedy like this never happens again.

We would also ask you to join us in a minute’s silence at 12 noon on Thursday 14 June in commemoration of the 72 people who lost their lives.

 

What’s happened at the Mount Wise Towers since Grenfell

PCH and our partners in the city have always taken fire safety and the welfare of our residents extremely seriously. We already had in place much of the required fire safety measures that were issued in guidance from DCLG in June 2017, following Grenfell. They included:

  • Individual fire risk assessments for each block
  • Flats fitted with a minimum of 30 minute fire doors
  • All PCH homes are fitted with 60 minute fire doors in tower blocks (law requires 30)
  • Door closers fitted and checked regularly
  • Mains wired smoke detectors/alarms in flats
  • Regular management inspections
  • External consultant advice on Fire Safety

 

Additional fire safety measures

PCH was one of the first housing associations in the country to get the cladding of the Mount Wise Towers tested and since receiving the results we have been working non-stop to put in place the extra fire safety measures below: 

  • 24/7 walking-watch fire safety wardens
  • Non-combustible protective boarding added to walls of stairwells
  • Heat detection installed throughout Towers in flats and communal areas
  • Smoke detection added to communal areas (they were already in flats)
  • Sprinkler installation has begun throughout all three Towers simultaneously – due to be completed later this year
  • Surveys completed to determine cladding solution – this confirmed we cannot remove cladding without replacement as the Towers are not wind and water-tight
  • Regular visits with the Fire Service and plans in place specifically for the Towers
  • Regular communication with residents through meetings, letters and visits to keep them informed of what is happening

When it became clear to us that simply removing the cladding without immediately replacing it wasn’t an option because the buildings were not wind and watertight, we progressed our plans to install heat detectors, fire protection in stairwells and sprinklers throughout the Towers so that we could be assured of our residents’ safety while the long term cladding solution was identified.

 

What next for cladding on the Mount Wise Towers?

Extensive work has been undertaken over the last year to identify a technical solution to remove and replace the cladding on the towers. This work is in its final stages and we expect our Board to consider and approve the recommended solution later this month.

Following this, the proposed solution will be presented to residents of the Towers for their consideration. Once residents have seen the plans and agreed designs, we’ll share them on our website and with the general public. They will go through the usual planning process and then we hope to be in a position to begin work in October.

We welcome the Government’s commitment to fund these works, as it means our planned development and refurbishment of new and existing homes, which is much needed in the city, can go ahead. We’d like to thank our MPs, local councillors and partners for helping to make this happen.

 

Thanks to Mount Wise Tower residents

I’d like to end by saying a heartfelt thank you to all of our residents living in the Mount Wise Towers. They have been incredibly patient and understanding, not only with PCH, but with all the contractors that have been working in their homes for the past year. Their co-operation has meant we have been able to carry out works in a relatively short space of time, ensuring the safety of everyone in the buildings.

John Clark, CEO

Plymouth Community Homes