Issue - meetings

Fire Safety - an update on the Work of Ove Arup

Meeting: 17/06/2022 - Barbican Residential Committee (Item 11)

11 Update Report: Arup Fire Safety Strategy Reports pdf icon PDF 137 KB

Report of the Director of Community and Children’s Services.

 ...  view the full agenda text for item 11

Additional documents:


The Committee considered a report of the Director of Community and Children’s Services which sought to update Members on the progress made by Arups in carrying out a detailed fire safety strategy audit on a representative sample of residential blocks on the Barbican Estate. The Assistant Director provided an update on the history and background of this project, for the benefit of new Members on the Committee.



 Members noted an update to the recommendations in the report in that the Executive Director, Community and Children’s Services, strongly recommended the addition of sprinklers to the three high rise blocks on the Barbican Estate, as had been the case with the City’s social housing blocks.  Members noted that they would receive further updates in respect of the action plan and feasibility study, and were encouraged to visit a trial installation in a flat on the Middlesex Street Estate. 


During the discussion and questions, the following points were noted:

Whilst it was very important to be transparent about the intrusive nature of the works, it should be strongly emphasised that sprinklers save lives. 

This report has also been circulated to the members of the RCC.  At their last meeting on 6th June 2022, the Assistant Director made a commitment to robust communication and consultation with residents. 

There is currently no budget for this work, as was the case with the fire door replacement project, and a special bid would be made.  It was noted that these works are categorised as improvements and Leaseholders would not be liable.

The Barbican is a listed estate, so there will be planning issues.  It was accepted that the works will be intrusive but would aim to conceal as much pipework and ducting as possible.

A ‘myth busting’ document had been produced for social housing and would

 ...  view the full minutes text for item 11

Meeting: 06/06/2022 - Barbican Estate Residents Consultation Committee (Item 8)

Fire Safety - an update on the Work of Ove Arup

Assistant Director, Barbican and Property Services to be heard.

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The Assistant Director was heard and advised that the BRC would receive a report at its meeting on 17th June 2022, including an option in respect of retro-fitting of sprinklers in the towers and the cost implications.  The Assistant Director stressed that, before any further action was taken, there would be  full resident consultation. 


Members noted that, whilst the buildings had been fully compliant at the time of construction, some 50 years ago, the Arup Survey had made a number of recommendations to bring them up to a modern standard, noting that some might not be feasible.  The Estate Office were looking at possible mitigations; one of them being the retro-fitting of sprinklers, which had been recommended to Members some time ago but had been controversial.   Arup had also proposed some interim and immediate solutions; i.e. -  identifying vulnerable people in the blocks, along the lines of ‘Personal Evacuation Plans’ and this was being actioned.


The decision not to fit sprinklers had been taken due to the general low fire risk at the Barbican and its compartmentation.   However, Arup has raised concerns in that the compartmentation might have been disrupted during residents’ improvement works and officers, therefore, have a duty to bring this to Members’ attention.   The Chair of the BRC was in attendance and advised that the recommendations in the report would include a feasibility and design study, to which residents would have input, ahead of a final decision.   RCC Members would receive a redacted version of the report as soon as possible and the Town Clerk advised that the Special Meeting requested under item 5 above could include this item, if necessary. 


 ...  view the full minutes text for item 8