Nottinghamshire tower blocks still waiting for post-Grenfell inspections

Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service headquarters.
By Anna Whittaker, Local Democracy Reporter

Dozens of high-rise buildings across Nottinghamshire are still waiting to be inspected by the fire service – more than four years after the Grenfell Tower disaster.

In late 2020, the Government gave fire services lists of high-rise buildings that needed to be inspected by the end of 2021.

Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service was asked to inspect 120 buildings, two-thirds of which have been done, with around 40 remaining. The fire service says the list will be completed by the end of October.

In June 2017, 72 people died when the 24-storey Grenfell Tower block of flats, in north London, was engulfed by flames.

Since then, Nottinghamshire Fire Service has also compiled its own list of 500 local high-rise buildings and blocks of flats, to be inspected in line with the recommendations of the national independent review that followed Grenfell.

Seventy per cent of the buildings it has inspected so far have had “some kind of deficiency”, including a handful that still have the ACM cladding, identified as the main reason the Grenfell fire spread so quickly.

Speaking to the Local Democracy Reporting Service, Deputy Chief Fire Officer for Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service Craig Parkin, said: “There’s a lot of work going on to make sure it [Grenfell] doesn’t happen again.

“That so many people lost their lives in such an astonishing event is still raw.

“We set up some work with the [Nottingham] city council, made some assessment of the buildings in the city and identified about 500 buildings.

“We’ve inspected about a third of those in the last two years.”

Mr Parkin said 48 recommendations were given to fire services across the country after Grenfell.

If a problem is found during inspections in Nottingham, a Joint Inspection and Audit Team works together to decide whether the council or the fire service will lead the investigation.

The building owner is given a certain amount of time to sort an issue – or in some cases the building, or parts of the building, will be restricted.

Mr Parkin added: “Something like 6,000 buildings in the city have some kind of cladding on them, but that’s not to say it is dangerous ACM cladding.

“The city in itself doesn’t have as many as 10 ACM cladding buildings of that height [over 18m].

“We are there or thereabouts with the ACM buildings as I understand it.”

Mr Parkin said building owners need to take responsibility for ensuring their properties are safe.

He added: “The fire service has still got a lot of learning to do and we are trying to improve all the time.

“The demands on us are a challenge, but we’re not in a bad place at the moment.”

Last month there were two fires at residential flats in Nottingham.

Blazes broke out at the 15-floor Marco Island building in the city and 19-storey residential block High Point in Hyson Green. Both buildings had previously been identified as high risk buildings by the fire service.

No-one was injured in either fire.

 

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