On 22nd November 2017, Chancellor Philip Hammond gave London his government autumn budget for the year ahead. For many construction workers, architects and potential homeowners, there were some key points regarding building developments, fire safety and fire prevention that should be noted. These included:

  • Regarding Grenfell Tower, the government reiterated that it wishes to support anyone affected by the devasting fire. The UK government has provided Kensington and Chelsea Council with an additional £28 million to be put towards mental health services, community support for victims, a new community space for Grenfell United community group, and to provide regeneration support for the surrounding areas in the aftermath of the Grenfell fire, including the Lancaster West estate.
  • Where measures are considered essential for making a building fire safe, the government has pledged that it will ensure current restrictions on the use of local authority financial resources will not be prohibitive to these fire prevention changes going ahead.
  • All local authorities and housing associations must now conduct any identified necessary safety works imminently. If any local authority is unable to access the necessary funding to pay for these essential fire safety works, they are asked to contact the government immediately.
  • For the next five years, there will be an injection of at least £44 billion of capital funding, loans and guarantees from the government to support the housing market and boost the supply of skills, resources and building land.
  • £34 million is set to be invested in developing construction skills across the country to help support the demand for new houses and population growth.

 

Philip Hammond delivers the August 2017 Government Budget, which covers fire safety and fire prevention. Image: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

Philip Hammond delivers the August 2017 Government Budget, which covers fire safety and fire prevention. Image: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

How can local councils protect residents from domestic fires?

Although councils and official bodies cannot completely prevent fires, given the often unexpected nature of many residential fires, they can certainly do more to help with fire safety by putting fire prevention plans in place and ensuring there is a firefighting system available should the worst occur. There is a lot of talk about the safety of cladding, and checks must be done to properties by a trained professional to assess the risk of cladding that may be present.

Additionally, councils can consider installing the Automist® smartscan® water mist fire suppression system, either in new builds or as a retrofit. Unlike traditional water sprinklers, Automist® does not operate from a tank, saving considerable space, and doesn’t require entire water systems to be changed to ensure there is enough flow.

This can help it become a more cost-effective fire safety solution. Developed by Plumis and installed by Intelligent Mist, Automist® essentially acts as a firefighting system in the home, even if residents are not in their property or are unable (through illness or disability) to escape quickly and raise the alarm.

Developed by Plumis and installed by Intelligent Mist, Automist® essentially acts as a firefighting system in the home, even if residents are not in their property or are unable (through illness or disability) to escape quickly and raise the alarm.

Automist® is particularly beneficial where buildings are open plan, set over many storeys, have loft conversions, or are being modernised to open up living spaces. Through ensuring fire safety concerns are addressed, Automist® can help designs pass building regulations quicker, with more options available for luxurious, spacious choices. Not only can these benefit the layout, but they can also add value to a property.

In the case of flats, where residents are separated by multiple floors and are not in constant communication about their own fire safety actions, Automist® can also be ideal. It causes less water damage through its targeted, streamlined method of extinguishing a fire. Automist® is suitable for both small and large properties, but especially for residential buildings in London and other busy cities where space is at a premium.

On activation, the Automist® device performs a smart scan of the room with its infrared sensor, noting peaks of temperature, sweeping the head back and forth several times until a reliable fix on the fire has been obtained. It then aims and activates the water mist pump to extinguish the fire safely and effectively.

For more information about Automist® Smartscan®, get in touch with Intelligent Mist now on 01206 544 223. With offices in London, Brighton and Colchester, we are one of the leading experts in the South-East of England for installing this cutting-edge firefighting system within residential buildings. Contact us today.