8 December 2017

Sheffield Tower Blocks

Sheffield City Council has 24 tower blocks.

Twenty of our 24 blocks have metal cladding and three are brickwork-clad. The remaining one (Hanover) is waiting for cladding to be re-installed.

Sprinklers in Sheffield Tower Blocks

We have undertaken significant fire safety work to all flats and maisonettes. Since 2010 this has focused on fire compartmentalisation works such as fire doors, filling cavities with a fire barrier product and hard-wired smoke alarms.

One of our tower blocks, at Callow Mount, was retro-fitted with a sprinkler system in 2011, as part of work with the British Automatic Fire Sprinkler Association.

In June 2017, following the Grenfell Tower disaster, we announced a commitment to install sprinklers in our tower rise blocks. Read more at www.sheffieldnewsroom.co.uk/tower-block-sprinklers/

We have appointed a fire specialist to advise us about sprinklers and will be consulting with tenants and leaseholders on a block-by-block basis.

We will start to do this after we have seen the interim report from the Grenfell Tower Inquiry.

We will procure the work after we have consulted with people and it could take approximately two years to complete all work.

Costs of Sprinklers in Sheffield City Council’s Tower Blocks

We estimate it could cost £3-4million to install sprinklers on all council tower blocks. However costs could increase as there is increased demand for sprinklers.

We have had discussions with the Government (Department of Communities and Local Government) to ask for funding for the sprinklers. This has not been given to date and, unless Government makes an offer, the work will be funded from the Housing Revenue Account (rents) and leaseholder income.

Cladding on Sheffield City Council’s tower blocks

Twenty of our 24 tower blocks have solid aluminium cladding. This is fire proof as the insulation is mineral and rock wool, with fire breaks at the floor and party walls. This creates a fire-proof box around each flat to the external structure to prevent the spread of fire to other flats.

We carried out independent tests, following the Grenfell Tower disaster, to provide extra reassurance to people living in these tower blocks. These confirmed that the cladding is made from solid aluminium, and is safe.

Read more in our letter to tenants: www.sheffield.gov.uk/content/sheffield/home/council-housing/cladding-tests.html

Three tower blocks are brickwork-clad and designed to operate in the same way as the others. But in these cases, they have a separate metal fire barrier installed.

The remaining tower block – Hanover Tower block – is not currently clad.

Hanover tower block

We removed the cladding from the Hanover tower block in Broomhall because the system failed the Department of Local Government’s sponsored fire safety tests (the BRE test).

Further information about the BRE test is available here: www.gov.uk/government/publications/fire-test-report-dclg-bs-8414-test-no2

We have also removed the insulation attached to the building because we are concerned that it could have been damaged when exposed to the weather.

We are keeping people up to date with development at Hanover Tower via our website: www.sheffield.gov.uk/content/sheffield/home/council-housing/hanover-tower.html

The cladding was originally put on the Hanover tower block in 2012 and was compliant with Building Regulations when it was installed.

It cost £373,000 to remove the cladding and insulation.

We do not have a final cost for a replacement system yet as we are waiting for the Grenfell Tower Fire Inquiry interim report to be published before we move to procure a replacement system.