Post-Grenfell cladding inspections find other fire risks

Fire safety inspections have uncovered hundreds of blocks of flats in England and Wales with faulty or missing fire prevention measures, the BBC has found.

Flat owners have been looking for evidence of unsafe cladding in the wake of the Grenfell Tower fire that killed 72 people in 2017.

But many of the inspections have revealed problems inside the buildings.

The government said it was introducing the biggest improvements to building safety for 40 years


Fire breaks and ‘compartmentation’

          Many owners are now finding problems with “compartmentation” – the way their individual flat is sealed to stop fire and smoke               spreading within a building.

Why is compartmentation so important?

It takes seconds for a fire to spread through a hole the size of a pen nib.

Compartmentation is a way to keep a fire contained in one place, preventing fire and smoke from spreading quickly and taking over the building. By creating these fire-resistant compartments, fire can be suppressed for around 30 minutes (time can vary depending on the building structure).

There are different elements to creating a fire safe compartment and there are many things that can reduce the effectiveness.

Following the Grenfell Tower fire in 2017, there have been many investigations into how the fire got out of hand so quickly. The fire started on the 4th floor and in just 12 minutes had spread up 19 floors. The external cladding was the first breach of compartmentation on the tower block. It is said to be the reason for the fire being able to spread up the whole building and therefore entering other flats, which otherwise could have been unaffected.

Another breach of compartmentation that contributed to the spread of fire is said to be that the front doors to the flats did not meet fire resistant standards. The doors did not last the regulatory minimum of 30 minutes and some of them also had broken self-closers meaning that they were open during the time of the fire.

This devastating case has highlighted the importance of compartmentation.

  • Effective compartmentation can save lives if a fire breaks out.
  • It allows for the fire service to tackle the fire and the “Stay Put Policy” to be an effective way to keep residents safe.
  • Compartmentation is especially important for escape routes, so that anyone in the building can safely evacuate.

Need help with Fire Safety in your Building?

If you are unsure about the compartmentation in your building, contact one of our specialist Fire Safety team.

0800 080 3045

Post-Grenfell cladding inspections find other fire risks – BBC News

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