Agenda item - Retro Fitting Sprinklers to High Rise Blocks

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Agenda item

Retro Fitting Sprinklers to High Rise Blocks

Report of Executive Director, Economy, Environment & Culture (copy attached).

 

Decision:

(1)      That the success of the pilot installation at Somerset Point be noted.

 

(2)      That it is agreed that officers proceed with resident consultation, procurement and subsequent installation of a further pilot sprinkler system at St James House subject to match funding from East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service and consideration of leasehold implications.

 

(3)      That it is agreed that officers prepare a business case to East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service for match funding of a sprinkler installation to Essex Place.

 

Minutes:

37.1    The Committee considered a report of the Executive Director Economy Environment & Culture which updated members on the completion of the recent pilot project to retro-fit a sprinkler system at Somerset Point.  This was a joint match funded initiative with East Sussex Fire & Rescue Services (ESFRS), who had made provision for a second block (St James House) to be match funded in 2017/18.  The intention of the pilot project was to identify how further installations could be carried out to blocks in the city and what issues may arise. The report was presented by the Contract Compliance Manager accompanied by the Head of Tenancy Services and Richard Fowler, Business Safety Manager, East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service and Mike Meik, Health & Safety Business Partner.    

 

37.2    Councillor Mears stated that she considered sprinklers to be life savers.  She referred to the financial implications in paragraph 7.2 and asked how long the match funding would last. Councillor Mears also asked about the costs with regard to Essex Place, paragraph 7.3.

 

37.3    The Principal Accountant explained that the budget for Somerset Point was already in the programme.  East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service was providing 50% matched funding.  If the recommendations were approved a budget amount of £0.250 million would be included in the HRA Capital Programme proposals for 2017/18.  The Business case for Essex Place had to be reviewed in the light of available funding for that project. 

 

37.4    Councillor Bell raised questions with regard to the distance of fire appliances to the blocks and with regard to dry risers. 

 

37.5    It was confirmed that the access to St James House was by public road, so appliances would get as close as possible.  The Essex Place approach was a large car park area.  Both buildings were fitted with dry risers.

 

37.6    Councillor Bell stated that he understood that there would be no need for sprinklers if the distance from the fire appliance to the block was under a certain distance.  Mr Fowler explained that there was no legal requirement to fit these systems

 

37.7    The Contract Compliance Manager explained that £1.5 million had already been invested to ensure the blocks were fire compliant. Sprinklers were above and beyond requirements.  She referred to recent fires in blocks and stressed that reinstatement costs were high.  A sprinkler system protected the structure against damage.

 

37.8    Mr Fowler explained that the Fire Authority had agreed to match fund these systems as fire fighting was extremely hazardous for fire fighters in high rise blocks. 

 

37.9    The Chair stated that she had heard nothing but praise from the tenants in Somerset Point.  She thanked the East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service and officers for presenting the report.

 

37.10  RESOLVED:-

 

(1)      That the success of the pilot installation at Somerset Point be noted.

 

(2)      That it is agreed that officers proceed with resident consultation, procurement and subsequent installation of a further pilot sprinkler system at St James House subject to match funding from East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service and consideration of leasehold implications.

 

(3)      That it is agreed that officers prepare a business case to East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service for match funding of a sprinkler installation to Essex Place.

 

Supporting documents:

 


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