Q&A on Enfield Council tower blocks

1. Are the tower blocks in Enfield safe?

The wellbeing of our residents is always our number one priority and since the terrible events in Kensington we have been working tirelessly to confirm that our tower blocks are safe. We have taken urgent steps to address any concerns that we have identified or our residents have told us about. These efforts have supported the work Enfield Council does every single day to minimise the risk of fire in our borough.

As soon as we became aware of the Grenfell Tower Fire, we ordered immediate top to bottom inspections of each of the 54 tower blocks owned by Enfield Council. These inspections complemented our programme of annual fire risk assessments and were in addition to the checks our caretakers do to every tower block every day to ensure any issues are addressed promptly.

Five of our blocks have laminate rainscreen cladding but this is not the same as the cladding installed on Grenfell Tower, it is fire resistant and meets all fire and safety legislation.

We remain in close contact with everyone living in our tower blocks to keep them informed about their properties and any precautions we are taking to keep their building safe. We are also keeping them informed about the latest safety advice from the London Fire Brigade including any steps they can take to reduce the risk of fire.

We are working closely with The London Fire Brigade and advising them of the status of all of our tower blocks and the actions we are taking to address any concerns. They are satisfied with proactive approach we have taken to identifying potential hazards, the control measures we have put in place to mitigate the risk and the prompt actions we are taking to address any concerns.

However, we will continually review our arrangements and if anything changes we will take whatever measures we feel necessary to protect the public.

2. What safety checks did you carry out after the Grenfell Tower fire?

In addition to our usual checks (see 1 above) we started urgent top to bottom inspections of every one of the 54 tower blocks owned by Enfield Council within hours of the Grenfell Tower fire happening.

These inspections confirmed that none of our tower blocks have the same cladding used on Grenfell Tower in Kensington.

Five of our blocks have laminate rainscreen cladding but this is not the same as the cladding installed on Grenfell Tower, it is fire resistant and meets all fire and safety legislation.

Of these, two blocks – Keys House and Dorset House - were already scheduled to have the cladding removed in August 2017. This was action was identified by Enfield Council before the Grenfell Tower fire. We immediately brought this work programme forward so that work to remove the cladding at Keys House and Dorset House started this week (w/c 26 June).

We have also undertaken an independent fire safety review of the external cladding at Dorset House and Keys House to ensure that the best possible safety measures are in place while it is being removed.

This safety review has confirmed that there is no aluminium composite material in the cladding but it has also highlighted the potential fire risks resulting from the way the current cladding is fitted and the type of insulation installed.

Even though we are already preparing to remove this cladding we promptly contacted the London Fire Brigade about the review. They are satisfied with the rapid and robust approach we are taking to removing the cladding and the control measures we have implemented to mitigate any risks while this is taking place – including deploying fire wardens in the blocks 24 hours a day while the removal of cladding takes place.

3. Is the cladding on Enfield’s Tower blocks the same at that installed on Grenfell Tower?

None of the 54 tower blocks owned by Enfield Council has the same cladding installed as Grenfell Tower.

4. I have cladding on my block and I’m worried – what should I do?

We understand this is a worrying time for residents. However, the risk of fire has not increased and Enfield Council has carried out additional checks, put in place additional control measures and taken prompt action to address any issues identified to minimise risk and keep residents safe.

5. What action is taken when a fire risk assessment is done and recommendations are made?

Once a fire risk assessment is completed, the recommendations are prioritised for action, this could include improvements or through housing management tenancy enforcement.

6. Do you work with the London Fire Brigade?

We have a very good working relationship with the London Fire Brigade at operational and strategic level. We have been working closely with the London Fire Brigade since the Grenfell Fire disaster to ensure our inspections, controls and actions are thorough and effective and best mitigate the risk of fire in our tower blocks.

7. How often do fire risk assessment inspections for council-owned high rise tower blocks take place?

Fire risk assessments for council tower blocks take place every year.

8. What about other council-owned properties?

We also carry out fire risk assessments for all Enfield Council medium and low rise buildings. We take a risk-based approach to setting the frequency of these assessments.

9. When were council high rises last inspected?

Enfield Council undertakes an annual fire risk assessment of every Enfield Council high rise block. This is carried out by a qualified Fire Risk Adviser employed by Enfield Council. Fire safety certificates were discontinued by central Government. Instead we conduct fire risk assessments.

10. Are you working with the UK government on fire safety in high rises?

The council is co-operating fully with the UK government as part of this nationwide inquiry. We are working hard to provide information to them, and they have also offered to help check council high rise buildings.

11. Do you have a 'stay put' policy?

We follow the recommendations of the London Fire Brigade – see 12.

12. What do I do if there is a fire in my property?

Visit London Fire Brigade for advice.