Dear Charlie, We Don’t Have Cladding.

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Thank you for taking the time to respond to my questions regarding the retrofitting of fire sprinklers in Munden View in Watford, the block I live in. There is no gas allowed in the block, so it is all electric with decent RCD cover. It has no cladding.

I would like to take WCHT up on the offer of thermal imagining to ensure that the system that the fire bridgade has suggested is suitable for my flat in regards to the temperature trigger of 58 degrees.  It does get exceptionally hot up here. It’s one of the reasons I love it and most normal people would hate it.

The imaging is a great suggestion and the next two mondays I’m back at hospital but otherwise I am usually around and can be reached on all the contact details they have at the office for me or on this email.

Two inspection staff from WCHT come up this week. One of those unannounced visits that feels like a drugs bust they did a flat audit, to make sure I wasn’t subletting.

What a coincidence that the police just popped by the day before – just to see how I’m doing. It would be so easy to lose objectiveness when you feel you are being bullied. Especially having mental health issues. It would be so easy to become paranoid.

The threat of legal action and costs really helped. I do feel suitably comforted into allowing you to enter my legally let property and fit a fire sprinkler system that I do not want or think necessary as this tower block does not have cladding.

As WCHT inspection staff were here, checking my id and looking around, they saw the ceilings and understood my concerns.  So perhaps things are being dealt with. With the water damage from the roof we do need to ensure these bonded ceilings can take the continual load of the weight sitting in the system pipes.

The stay put policy, during a fire, is one I’m quite happy with. I was more than happy to move into the block. My professional experience has given me the knowledge that should the compartmentation be solid a building can have an extremely safe record of withstanding fires. It should be remembered that this is an extemely safe tower block and does not have cladding.

It is good to know that the fire brigade are so involved as it is them who need to control water supply. It has put my mind at rest that they had such a large input in the choice of the design for the fire protection these large tower blocks.

I spent some time removing access cabling from the flat when I moved in last year. I was concerned that should the cables fall they would block my only exit. I did have similiar concerns with the pipes for the fire sprinklers, as I am in a wheelchair.  I see that these things are all going to be looked into which is good to know.

You tell me that the fire sprinklers will not cost the tenants anything on our service charges – thank you, this is reassuring.

Your suggestion that I leave the flat whilst the fire sprinklers are fitted is an obvious one and I thank you.

I’m not sure where I would go for such a long time. Three days.  I’m hoping that the WCHT staff who came up yesterday could see that my situation is such I would not be medically facilitated for in most places, or indeed comfortable. I’m very aware, that with my conditions, being here would be impossible while it’s being fitted without heavy ear defenders for the diamond drilling at the very least. I believe human health and safety requirements demand that much.

Your answer regarding the appearance of the installment of the fire sprinklers is not yet answered. The actual installment looks very different from the show flat installment which some tenants saw but others who requested to see were not able. So, although I did promise not to continue to ask more questions I feel that requesting that you respond to this is not a new question but one already asked so I request, respectfully, that it is answered

I would still like the main fire doors between the floors fixed properly, as they blow open in the wind from the ‘air’ window in the communal area. It is very likely that this would fail in a fire. This is the only exit route. It is important. It is also a primary measure as mentioned in the fire report which ought to be done before secondary measures like fire sprinklers.

It should also be pointed out that several tenants pointed out the danger of what was happening when the cladding was put on Grenfell. They were bullied into accepting it. The tower block did have good fire safety record before it was refitted by the council. I asked you for the name of the system being installed in Munden View. You sent me..

Code of practice BS 9251:2014 gives recommendations for the design, installation, components, water supplies and backflow protection, commissioning, maintenance and testing of fire sprinkler systems in domestic and residential occupancies. These systems are primarily intended for the protection of life in case of fire and have additional benefits for property protection, environmental protection, sustainability of buildings and continuity of use, and firefighter safety

I copied and pasted it here, directly as it was in your email.  I’d like to highlight another point. You say that this ‘system’ has additional benefits, one of the listed is environmental protection – but the system you are installing is plastic conduit, boxed in with large amounts of untreated MDF.  Should the system fail, the environmental impact of the burn, fueled with the polyethene fillers would increase the environmental impact considerably.

Should the water supply fail to the block – as it has several times, and a fire take hold – the holes, plastic tubing, MDF and broken compartmentation would facilitate the burn up through the riser to every floor.

With access to the building becoming a problem most days – the traffic from the hundreds of new houses making it hard for ambulances to attend the tower blocks. This is something I have raised and have been told to be patient about.  I am failing to understand how the fire brigade would deal with a fire here or turn the sprinklers off should they be accidently, maliciously or purposefully triggered.

I am yet decided as to whether to include the name of the fire sprinkler system supplier. I suppose that will depend on what the job looks like and whether the installation in my flat leaks. I’ve heard others do presently.

Thank you for pointing out how important my flat is to the schedule of works. However, there are residents who have taken time off and arranged with your office to let the operatives into their homes so that they can fit these fire sprinklers.

One resident has done this three times now, and the workers haven’t shown up on the day arranged. These residents are just as important and shouldn’t have their time wasted in such a manner. It does seem silly to keep knocking on my door with no appointment when the operatives are not attending the confirmed appointments they have.

There are no questions in this email other than the one regarding the look of the installation. As you and David Wright made it very clear you do not want emails going to and fro. I leave this with you. As I say please do get in contact regarding an appointment for the thermal imagining detector.

Kindest regards,

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