Grenfell Tower: Islington Council ‘looking into’ installing sprinklers in tower blocks

The cladding being removed from Braithwaite House. Picture: Terry Stacy

The cladding being removed from Braithwaite House. Picture: Terry Stacy - Credit: Archant

Islington Council could fit sprinklers into its tower blocks and has called on the government to foot the bill for all fire safety work.

Grenfell Tower. Picture: PA

Grenfell Tower. Picture: PA - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

The town hall is looking into the cost and effectiveness of fitting the water systems in the wake of the Grenfell Tower inferno.

Installing sprinklers is not required by law when blocks are refurbished, but housing boss Cllr Diarmaid Ward said people’s safety was the top priority.

He said: “Islington Council is actively looking at whether it is possible to retrofit sprinklers in our tower blocks.

“We believe the government should pledge funding to pay for fire safety work, to make sure the price of fire safety isn’t cuts to other vital local services and projects.”

Braithwaite House near Old Street. Picture: Polly Hancock

Braithwaite House near Old Street. Picture: Polly Hancock - Credit: Archant

Islington has 126 buildings that are six-storeys or taller. Of those, 55 have cladding, but only eight have panel cladding, which is the type being tested.

One of those, Braithwaite House, was found to have cladding containing Aluminium Composite Materials (ACM), and on Monday work started to remove the panels, which are on the sides of the building. Fire patrols are taking place 24/7 until it is fully removed.

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The council also has 123 buildings fitted with “dry risers”, which supply water within buildings for fire-fighting. These are inspected and tested regularly.

Two are now being converted to “wet risers”, which are permanently charged with water. They are the two tallest council blocks, Michael Cliffe House and Peregrine House.

Most council blocks in the borough do not have sprinkler systems, though some have been installed in the homes of particularly vulnerable residents.

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