ACM cladding and waking watch

We have recommended using the Safeland system whereby individual users connect their alarms through the Safeland App to alert each other in case of emergency. Many buildings have/had waking watches to constantly patrol blocks. In the case of Meath Crescent the Waking Watch was replaced with an alarm system, which failed. a fire broke out recently see pics below.

Letter from our chair

Dear Mayor Lufur Rahman, Cabinet Members Kabir Ahmed & Ohid Ahmed, Councillors Sirajul Islam, Ahmodul Kabir & Rebaka Sultana, Inspector Ashley Rose, PCSO John Murphy & Officer Aminul Islam, EH employees David Tolley & Francis Mendi and LFB employees Dean Wilkinson & Tracey Beardall,

I write to you on behalf of many concerned residents at Meath Crescent. They have all been copied on this email.

As you may be aware, one of our blocks was on fire on Saturday early evening. The balcony of an unoccupied flat (at the time) on the 4th floor of Leamore Court caught fire in between 6-6.30pm. A blaze that went up 3 floors was quickly underway.

8 appliances from the London Fire Brigade attended and put out the fire with the upmost speed and professionalism. No harm to life happened.

In the aftermath of the incident, we have some questions that we hope you can help us clarify in order to put our minds somewhat at ease.

1.- Earlier this month we said goodbye to the Waking Watch as our newly integrated fire detection system and alarm was approved. A fire that caused the flat in question (208) to be smoke logged should have triggered its fire detectors and by default a full building evacuation with notification to the London Fire Brigade of an emergency for attendance.

The fire alarms went off in the flat 3 floors above but not in flat 208 and the rest of the building thus not triggering a full evacuation nor alerting the London Fire Brigade for attendance.

One of our neighbours, Bini Parekh (in copy) and her partner discovered the fire as they were returning to the building, rang the London Fire Brigade and started alerting residents so they could evacuate.

Had the incident developed further than it did, those minutes provided by the correct function of the detection, alarm and alert systems would have proved vital to preserve life from harm.

How could this happen? 

2.- I was alerted of the fire by my neighbour knocking on my door. We live 4 blocks away from Leamore Court and he could smell the smoke from the fire in his home. 

My home is situated at the front and top of Rathnew Court with unobstructed views of Warley Street, the entrance gates and the drive up Meath Crescent. 

Upon exiting it I witnessed the struggle the first London fire appliances had to access Meath Crescent through a broken set of gates (half closed) and the cars parked outside the L&Q blocks. 

The gates have been broken since the 24th of June and the development has had a constant loosing fight with L&Q (and previously East Homes) for as long as we can remember regarding the unauthorised parking of residents and visitors of the two Housing provider’s tenants. Many residents have brought this issue of access to the attention of the London Fire Brigade. 

5 appliances somehow got through but 3 were blocked from reaching further than Rathnew Court as two cars drove in and then proceeded to block the drive.

How could the same access problems faced by the London Fire Brigade time and time again on many visits be allowed to continue?

3.- 2 Met Police patrol cars attended.

Residents were informed that an arrest of an individual was made in connection with the fire incident.

We understand that this may still be under Police investigation and therefore the information you can provide may be limited.

Was there truly an arrest made in connection with the fire? What crime was the arrest made for?

4.- I had the honour of meeting Dean Wilkinson, the Commander in attendance as Fire Safety from the London Fire Brigade.

I approached him to express my concern with the fire and how Fire Safety (as much as Health and Safety) has neither been a priority nor handled compliantly for the last 15 years by our Landlord, the RTM Company or any of the Managing Agents we have had. This has allowed residents to live under constant possible threat to their life was there to be an emergency.

I explained the composition of our external wall and the repair we are set to have on it to achieve compliance under the new Building Safety Act 2022. The repair focuses on the cladding aspect of the external wall whilst maintaining the most dangerous part of the wall, a highly combustible PIR called Panoblok.

I shared with him the initial findings of an expert witness (Chris Easton – Eastonbevins) during his visit to commission a Civil Procedures Rules Report Part 35 Expert Witness Report. His findings state the development’s biggest problems aren’t the external wall but internal compartmentation breaches.

We both went into the electrical intake cupboard on the 4th floor, which had been broken into, and personally saw those breaches in compartmentation. I must state here that our ACM Cladding, missing cavity barriers and internal compartmentation breaches are not the only building construction defects we  have been subjected to as collapsing communal walkways, terraces, floor joist structures, drainage and affluence or faulty plumbing also form part of them.

Under the humanitarian nature of my queries, I asked Dean if he could devote some time to assess how Panoblock performed under fire and also be aware of the issues with internal compartmentation during his investigation.

Has a Fire Safety findings report and recommendations been compiled yet? Are you able to share it with us or at lease give us a summary of it and plan of action for rectification?

Many of you have heard from us before highlighting these problems and the inability of our Right to Manage Company to address them appropriately.

Therefore, you can surely understand how uneasy we feel about this situation and hope you can help us with it.

We look forward to your responses.

Thank you in advance.

Residents of Meath Crescent. 

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