Works start at Chichester block of flats following fire risk assessment

Remedial works have started this week at a block of flats in Chichester where concerns about fire risk have been raised.

Thursday, 5th December 2019, 1:08 pm
The Hyde Housing development off Winden Road. Photo: Google Images

The initial programme of work at Grainger House in Winden Avenue comes after a fire risk assessment was carried out at the building on November 1.

A 24/7 fire marshal patrol remains in place at the building, and the fire strategy has been changed from ‘stay put’ to ‘simultaneous evacuation’.

Hyde Housing, which has received preliminary results from the risk assessment, said a number of compartmentation issues had been identified within communal areas of the building.

Compartmentation refers to the way buildings are subdivided through fire doors, floors and walls of fire-resisting construction into manageable areas of risk, in order to prevent the spread of fire and smoke.

A meeting was held with residents at the block of flats and a councillor last week to discuss the works and address any concerns raised.

Liz Oliver, Hyde’s Interim Director of Compliance said the meeting was ‘very successful’.

She said: “We continue to work with our residents at Grainger House, as well as key stakeholders including the local councillor, to ensure that the work is carried out as quickly and effectively as possible.”

Further investigations are ongoing at the building, she said, adding: “We continue to work with our specialists, the developer and our residents to identify any further works required.”

Councillor Sarah Sharp said she had not yet seen the results of the risk assessment but said an action plan was being put in place.

She said: “So far I have been pleased with the willingness of Hyde employees to engage and listen to residents’ concerns.

“But what will count is the action plan that comes out of this.

“There is potentially a large volume of work which will inconvenience residents but clearly this work has to be carried out as quickly as possible.”

A resident, who wished to remain anonymous, previously raised concerns about noise travelling through the building.

The noise concerns had led to fears about soundproofing between floors of the building, he said, and therefore the risk of fire spreading.

But a spokesman for Hyde Housing said soundproofing in the building ‘exceeds the minimum requirement as tested and recorded by building control’.