LongLane wrote:Astonishing attitude given the rule is for yours and others protection. I hope you never have to suffer a building fire and find out the potential consequences of this attitude.
Do you also smoke at petrol stations?
Jules62 wrote:Southwark has made a 'one fits all' decision on fire prevention enforcement.
This is what I received from them:
"You, like many of our tenants have been responsible in the way you manage items in the communal areas. The items you mention are not combustible and they are probably not a trip hazard. You (like many individuals) have attempted to make the area look nicer and in years gone you may have been helped by Southwark Council to do this.
There are two approaches that a housing provider can take in the common areas (escape routes) and they are;
1. Zero Tolerance – This is an approach where residents are not permitted to use the common areas to dispose or store their personal belongings or rubbish. No exceptions apply and this ensures that that the common areas are effectively sterile
2. The benefits of this approach are:
· It is simple to adopt
· It reduces the risk of accidental fire or arson
· There is no ambiguity
· It allows for more effective management, particularly considering the size and complexity of our stock.
· The LFB prefer this approach
· It makes risk assessment easier
· It reduces the liability of Southwark Council and is line with the Tenancy Agreement.
3. The disadvantages are:
· No room for discretion – for example plant pots, window boxes and so may be disproportionate to the risk
· May penalise those residents caring for and improving their immediate environment
· It may involve mixed messages – the Council has held competitions for best flat in bloom, has installed gates across walkways
· It will not be popular with residents and will require a lengthy and consistent marketing campaign to reinforce the risk from accidental fire and arson alongside enforcement activity.
4. Managed Approach – This approach involves the publication of clear guidance to residents and staff which clearly defines what can be kept in which common parts. This could allow for:
· Potted plants
· Door mats
· Petrol engines (scooters etc)
· Mobility Scooters
· Large obstructions
5. The benefits of such an approach include:
· It allows for the varied design, shape and size of our common balconies and walkways
· It can foster a sense of pride and ownership amongst residents
· It may deter anti-social behaviour
6. The disadvantages include
· It will require a detailed set of guidance and consistent application of those with a clearly defined policy statement.
· There is scope for ambiguity
· It increases the risk of accidental fire or arson
· It may promote anti-social behaviour
I was employed here two years ago following thirty years in the fire service and I have attempted to maintain a managed approach in that time but it has failed hugely due to a large growing minority of people that have completely abused the system and taken a huge amount of time from the Housing Officers who have tried to make those people comply..
The recent tragic events at Grenfell have completely changed the landscape and the enforcing authority (London Fire Brigade) and us at the Fire Safety Team are taking a zero tolerance approach to all items in the escape routes to ensure that there is a consistent approach across our stock. We are also making sure that tenants keep their private balconies to a manageable level with limits placed on what can be stored there too. This is not the only thing we are doing as we are now undertaking intrusive and destructive surveys in the escape routes and within peoples homes to ensure we have effective separation throughout the building.
My remit is solely to keep people safe and as I have no budget this gives me the ability to ask for whatever I want. I completely understand the reasons for plants because it makes the place look homely but I have to think of everyone now and having experienced a large number of fires in our common areas both in the fire service and here I will no longer accept residents being put in danger by a significant number of people who just do not want to comply.
Again, my apologies to you and the people who have tried to comply in the past.
I personally find this a very high handed approach, and feel that each block/property should be individually assessed so that a tailor made solution can be devised.
boroughbloke wrote:You either have a policy or you don't. I think it is perfectly reasonable to demand tenants in any building, be it council, private, residential or commercial, do not put anything in areas that are not theirs to put things in and are communal escape routes that should be sterile in terms of flammable content. The idea there should be a tailored solution to each block is absurd.
boroughonian wrote:One mad idea I had about security gates, I accept that some people have them for security while they are indoors but I would venture to suggest that most people have them for peace of mind when they are out. How about if the gates are unlockable from the inside? They have a leaver handle on both sides and, when indoors, the gate would click shut (still looking like Fort Knox but unlocked).
PeteStaples wrote:boroughonian wrote:One mad idea I had about security gates, I accept that some people have them for security while they are indoors but I would venture to suggest that most people have them for peace of mind when they are out. How about if the gates are unlockable from the inside? They have a leaver handle on both sides and, when indoors, the gate would click shut (still looking like Fort Knox but unlocked).
I think the fire brigade want rid of them so they aren't impeded when trying to battle through a burning building. Which seems fair enough to me, although I haven't had too many security problems fortunately.
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