14 June 2018

Tenants living in any of Sheffield City Council’s high rise buildings are being assured that their safety is its number 1 priority.

The council is working with key partners and building owners to make sure their accommodation is safe and has committed to take action against any building owner that could put residents at risk.

A key part of this safety work is to make sure that tenants and residents are involved at every stage of the decision-making process.

Like many cities and anyone who works in Housing there is still shock about the tragedy at Grenfell Tower. It’s recognised in the city just how important it is to listen and work closely with residents so that they are fully involved in decisions being taken about their homes and their safety.

Councillor Jim Steinke, Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods and Community Safety said: “I am committed to learning from the Grenfell Tragedy and making sure that anyone living in high rise accommodation is safe and feels safe. My officers are also following the Grenfell Tower Inquiry closely and we all look forward to reading the interim report as soon as it becomes available.

“Whatever lessons emerge from the inquiry will be taken on board and the council will do all that is necessary to ensure that our tenants can live in comfort and safety and above all that they can do so in complete peace of mind.

“I will adopt a zero tolerance to anyone operating in the city who does not share this approach. We are fortunate in Sheffield that we have some very high standards of accommodation and management arrangements.  As a city we are starting from a good place, because the council has invested heavily in its own housing to address any fire risk.

“Obviously, improvements can always be made and that is why I am personally listening and acting on any learning from the public inquiry, the outcome of the Independent Review of Building Regulations and Safety by Dame Judith Hackitt and when speaking with the Government.”

Of the 24 tower blocks owned by the city council, a single element of the cladding system at Hanover Tower failed new fire tests prompted by the Grenfell Tower fire in London last June. Once the council became aware that the cladding at Hanover Tower had failed the government’s new test a decision was taken to immediately remove it, without waiting for further guidance as the safety of tenants and leaseholders was most important.

The installation of new fire-resistant cladding on Hanover Tower in Broomhall is expected to at the end of the summer and will take about seven months to complete.

The council has been working closely with residents at Hanover as part of the Hanover Project tenants & residents Group.

Through working together, a final decision on cladding options has been taken. Solid aluminium cladding with mineral wool insulation which satisfies the issues identified in the Interim Hackett review will be installed and the design of cladding will be checked by a third-party accredited fire engineer.

 

The council remains committed to installing sprinklers in its tower rise blocks and a fire specialist has been appointed to advise. Consultation with tenants and leaseholders will take place on a block-by-block basis.