Housing providers admit fire safety failures

A new survey has revealed that three-quarters of the people who work for housing providers do not believe proper fire risk assessments have been carried out.

The survey, undertaken by the fire service and the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH), involved asking nearly 400 employees of different housing providers if they were confident their organisations had properly assessed all fire risks at the high-rise tower blocks they managed.

The results of the survey, which was launched following the deaths of six people in a fire at Southwark Council tower block Lakanal House in July 2009, revealed that 75 per cent of employees were not confident that the housing provider they worked for had carried out a suitable fire risk assessment.

Concerns were also raised about the level of fire safety training those employed to carry out the risk assessment had undergone, as 49 per cent of survey respondents said they didn’t think their block’s risk assessor was wholly competent.

All of this could mean that large numbers of tower blocks in the UK are potential fire hazards. Andy Cloke, from the Chief Fire Officers Association, said:

“We are still finding buildings with significant problems, It wasn’t until Lakanal that we got a bit of a jolt in the arm and we started to uncover the sort of problems we are now aware of.”