Sheffield’s £40m fire safety bill in wake of Grenfell tower disaster
Sheffield Council bosses are lobbying the government for fire safety funding following the Grenfell tower blaze.
The council says it has always taken fire safety seriously but there are new national recommendations following the tragedy in 2017.
Officers have warned these will cost around £40m and say they need financial support from the government.
The council has completed remedial works where needed but will have to factor in costs from any new legislation.
Louise Cassin, housing business plan officer, says in a Cabinet report that it’s “clearly a significant, but necessary, further challenge” unless additional government funding can be secured.
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The report says: “The successful management of flats also comes with additional responsibilities in the post-Grenfell era.
“We have always taken fire safety seriously and have pro-actively reviewed our stock and our approaches following the tragic event.
“We will take a pro-active approach to ensure we comply but initial assessment of the challenge indicates that financial support is needed from government and we will be making a case for this with government.
“Investment in sprinklers, fire alarms, fire doors, combined with a robust regime of managing schemes and inspections will cost an estimated £40m and without grant support may require priorities in the investment plan to be revisited.”
The council says it is working with residents to ensure people know what to do if a fire breaks out.
The report adds: “We want to ensure that our tenants are safe and that their homes continue to comply with relevant legislation.
“We have now completed the recladding works on Hanover tower block with active support from the community.
“Other key investment priorities will include continuing to implement fire safety works including sprinklers and fire stopping works on the tower blocks, continuing to invest in roofing replacement and electrical upgrades.”
The Hackitt Report, an independent review of building regulations and fire safety, was published in 2018 and set out over 50 recommendations.
Sheffield Council then took part in a government consultation in response to the recommendations. The outcome of that consultation isn’t yet known.
Source: The Star
Since the horror of Grenfell no less that 9,000 emails have been received from councils reporting the extent of the unsafe aluminium impacting on their housing stock The emails have been sent to a bespoke email address set up by GOV.UK in the wake of Grenfell for the purpose of allowing councils to report.
As yet there is no finite answer to just how many properties are at risk, however in answer to a question from by Labours Steve Reed to Ester Mcvey, the Housing Minister, she has said “We will publish appropriate summary information from the data collection in our monthly Building Safety Programme data release in due course.”
What is certain is that in order to redress the risks the costs will be substantial, what is not so certain is how the costs will be met.