Grenfell and the landlord's dilemma
Updated: Mar 4, 2020
The Queens Speech outlined sweeping new changes to building regulations; a direct consequence of the Grenfell tragedy.
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The changes go beyond the 53 recommendations of Dame Judith Hackitt’s Grenfell Inquiry, and it’s clear that, in the event of a General Election, this will be pursued in some manner regardless of who forms a government. This will include the creation of a new regulator with the power to criminally sanction developers and landlords.
The year 2018/19 saw about 200 dwelling fires and roughly 250 deaths – as a result of those fires – in England. For landlords, particularly for Housing Associations or Councils, this represents a real challenge.
Post Grenfell, housing providers have been sent scurrying to do everything they can to ensure that tragedy is not repeated. In the private sector, that has even included battles between freeholders and their leaseholders over the costs of such works, even when it pertains to the removal of Grenfell-type cladding.
The risk of a fire resulting in a tenant being harmed is relatively low, however housing providers are desperate, rightly, to avoid a single death through fire. They are resourcing building upgrades, systems upgrades and even paying people to physically check for fires. Yet in some cases, this focus may be distracting from other risks to tenants, buildings and the organisations that own them.
A tenant or leaseholder death from fire is a tragedy for those directly affected, but for the housing provider it can mean reputational damage, criminal sanctions or even become an existential threat to the organisation itself.
This is a three-way balancing act between the likelihood of a fire occurring, the human and other consequences of such a fire, and the cost of mitigating both the probability and the extent of the hazard.
To be absolutely frank, here at Ciqurix, we have been very worried about how we talk about the Grenfell tragedy. We manufacture what we think is the world’s most effective fire detection system and there is something distasteful about profiting from such a disaster. Yet, more than two years later, with the government and the housing sector coalescing around firm action, it is time for us to show housing providers how we can help them to mitigate these unique risks.
Our patented video fire detection system combines infra-red sensors with digital imagery, using a proprietary analytics system. The analytics compares the data to deliver a warning system that can detect a flame at 180 metres, with an incredibly low false positive rate. Typically, you will be alerted within seconds of ignition and we can integrate our FCam into most existing monitoring platforms.
Our system is already in place, helping to protect the World Heritage Site at Bryggen, Norway, whose ancient Hanseatic wooden buildings have suffered from several fires. We have a track record focusing on protecting industrial sites and we are also excited about a pilot project we have implemented with Bristol City Council.
We’re a private company but our passion is to protect people and buildings and their contents from harm. We believe that we have the most effective video fire detection system available in the world today and we have priced that system below that of our major competitors. We want everyone to have the best protection, because that’s why we come to work each morning. People deserve the best fire protection at least as much as any world heritage site or industrial location.
With the three-way balancing act between the probability of a fire, the consequences of a fire and the cost of mitigation, we see our role clearly. We provide what we believe is the most cost-effective video fire detection system in the world, speeding up detection and response times, reducing the likelihood of harm to property, and more importantly, to people.
For more information, contact us here.