[Neal Shore – Corporate Landlord, Compliance Officer]
The group welcomed Mr Tim Pritchard – Head of Corporate Landlord and Mr Neale Shore - Compliance Officer.
The Group welcomed Mr Pritchard and Mr Shore. Mr Pritchard confirmed that the remit of Corporate Landlord included the Council’s assets, facilities management and projects and works. Mr Shore stated that there were 165 corporate properties and 58 community schools and that the department was currently in the process of ensuring that these had a managed fire risk assessment programme in place. Corporate Landlord had only recently taken over the function for the buildings in June 2016 and for the schools in April 2017 so work in relation to this was still in the early stages.
The Chair queried what action had been taken since the Grenfell fire to check the cladding on school buildings. It was stated that the Council was awaiting information to be returned by the schools and as yet very little information had been received. Mr Shore confirmed that 10 fire risk assessments had been commissioned and that this was a rolling programme through 2018/2019 by the end of which assessments would have been carried out on all schools. Academies were not currently part of the rolling programme which was just looking at the 58 community schools. Mr Shore also confirmed that the focus now was on properties where people were resident rather than business properties.
A query was raised in relation to fire risk assessments and the Civic Offices especially in relation to disabled people and barriers that that had breaks in them. Mr Shore stated that he would provide a written response in relation to this.
Mr Shore confirmed that Corporate Landlord were also working closely with Mr Sam Bunch, a fire safety consultant from Jacobs who was an ex fire fighter and Graduate Member Institution of Fire Engineers.
Mr Pritchard stated that now Mr Shore was in role that data and information could start to be collected to enable the team to understand how things stood now but it was confirmed that areas of high risk were being addressed with immediate effect.
Mr Pritchard confirmed that a questionnaire from the Department for Education had been completed and that this covered all community schools and that the Council were fully compliant with this. It was confirmed that the survey had dealt with buildings that were four storeys and above or that were residential.
Regarding buildings such as i10 it was noted that there was cladding and that this had been assessed by Mr Bunch who had also evaluated the evacuation plan and fire risk assessment and advised that at the moment this was sufficient and no further action needed to be taken. The Chair agreed that cladding was acceptable if mitigating systems were in place and that buildings needed to be looked at holistically. The Chair did however state that the cladding should be tested and it was confirmed that this would be the case if there was any uncertainty as to its composition. Unlike residential flats in buildings such as i10 there was an evacuation plan and when the alarm sounded everyone would leave the building.
The question was raised as to whether the risk assessment for the evacuation had included areas specifically focused on blind people, those with guide dogs or hearing impaired people. It was confirmed that a response would be provided regarding this.
The Group queried whether there was a plan in place for any of the Council owned buildings to be used in the case of an emergency. Mr Pritchard confirmed that if the need arose then the buildings would be made available and that work was carried out with the emergency planning and resilience team.