That the Cabinet Member for Housing Services:
(i) Approved the decision to install a sprinkler system at Glastonbury House (consisting 162 units) at a budgeted cost of £1.62m and noted that installation will be carried out by the major works term partnering contractor, United Living.
(ii) Approved the decision to commence communications with residents and to work up proposals for the installation of a sprinkler system at Glarus Court (consisting 20 units and noted that installation will be carried out by the major works term partnering contractor, United Living, and that the budgeted costs for this installation is £0.200m.
Reasons for Decisions
1. There were two blocks identified as having a higher fire risk, principally as they provide sheltered accommodation for older people. The risk is heightened because there are a number of residents unable to self-evacuate, and there are potentially additional evacuation issues associated with the presence of scooters. One block is classed as being an “extra care unit” (Glarus Court) - the subject of this report, and the other being a high risk residential building (HRRB) - Glastonbury House.
2. A commitment was made by Westminster City Council (WCC) to retrospectively install sprinkler systems to all high-rise blocks over 30 metres. Following this decision, CityWest Homes (CWH) have reviewed the implications to undertake such a task and look at certain other high-risk blocks even if below 30 metres. A report into the initial findings was issued to the policy and scrutiny sprinkler task force. Recommendations from the task force that relate specifically to Glarus Court were as follows:
3. Install sprinklers in all properties regardless of tenure, seeking to recover costs from post-1987 lessees only. It is noteworthy that there are no leaseholders within the proposed blocks.
4. Installation of ‘boxed in’ plastic pipework with concealed sprinkler heads.
5. Prioritise sheltered housing over tall buildings and establish budget for doing so within the Housing Revenue Account business plan.
6. Glarus Court was considered alongside Glastonbury House in February 2018, concluding that sprinklers should be explored in more detail. However, pursuing the wider sprinkler roll-out is complex and so this report recommends that the works to these two CSH blocks be removed from the city-wide sprinkler project and prioritised. The reasons are set out within this report to outline that they are considered higher risk than many blocks, and also have no leaseholders, which is the complexity for many of the high-rise blocks over 30 metres.