HIGH rise residents in north Solihull are set to benefit from a £20million investment in their homes in the wake of the Grenfell Tower tragedy.
Solihull Community Housing (SCH), which manages 37 high rise buildings in the borough on behalf of Solihull Council, has announced the installation of sprinklers throughout the entire high rise housing stock.
In addition to this, almost half the buildings will be having external works to replace spandrel panels in a further move to bring them into line with the latest building standards.
SCH chief executive Fiona Hughes, said: “Since the Grenfell fire tragedy in 2017, all landlords of high rise buildings have had to evaluate the best course of action to ensure the safety of customers.
“Following extensive meetings with our colleagues at Solihull Council, further supported by West Midlands Fire Service, the unanimous decision has been taken to install sprinklers throughout all our high rises.”
While it is now law for new buildings over 30 metres to be fitted with sprinklers, landlords are not legally obliged to retrofit sprinklers in older buildings.
However, an extensive programme of research has led all involved parties to agree that this is the right thing to do in Solihull.
Councillor Ian Courts, Leader of Solihull Council, said: “The safety of our tenants and residents is paramount.
“Following advice from fire safety experts we have decided as a Council to equip all our high rises with sprinklers to increase fire safety.
“Although none of our high rises were affected by the problems associated with the Grenfell tragedy, we still feel the installation of sprinklers will provide the reassurance and protection our tenants and residents deserve.”
Fire safety advisors, and technical and professional experts, are unanimous in supporting the installation of sprinklers in high rises.
They are deemed especially important where there are vulnerable residents who would find it difficult to escape in the event of a fire.
SCH says it will keep residents informed throughout through regular newsletters, social media, website posts and customer liaison officers.