Sprinklers have now been installed throughout Tamworth’s six high rise buildings after a £1.6 million contract was completed by locally-based housing refurbishment specialist, Lovell Partnerships.
The project has taken nearly a year to complete, with the installation of almost 2,000 sprinklers throughout communal areas and nearly 400 individual flats within the six town centre high rise flats and an apartment building at Eringden.
Tamworth Borough Council had committed to installing sprinklers inside 300 council-owned properties at the high rise and 46 flats at Eringden, as part of ongoing refurbishment work. As a result of the Grenfell Tower tragedy, councillors decided to extend the offer of free sprinklers and installation to the 50 leaseholders within the buildings (48 in the high rise and two in Eringden).
The authority has worked closely with specialists at Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service who have provided expertise and advice on the technical aspects of the project and helped prepare the tender.
The contract was awarded to Tamworth-based Lovell who spent time drawing up detailed design plans and consulting with residents before the work took place.
An open day was held with the support of the fire service where residents were given a handbook, advice and offered assistance to prepare their homes ready for the work.
Cllr Michelle Cook, Tamworth Borough Council’s Cabinet member for Housing Services and Communities, said: “The installation of sprinklers throughout our high rise and medium rise buildings supplements the existing physical fire safety features already present, with the aim of enhancing the overall fire safety for residents.“Although this work was already planned in as part of ongoing refurbishment work, the decision was made to waive the costs of installation for the leasehold properties throughout the high rise and at Eringden after the Grenfell Tower tragedy, and we are happy that the majority of residents have taken up our offer.
“Council staff consulted with tenants and leaseholders about these plans prior to the contract being awarded to Lovell, and we are delighted with the feedback we have received regarding the sprinkler roll-out and the well-managed delivery of the project.
“We hope that residents will now feel safer in their homes and have an increased awareness of fire safety.”
Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service’s Fire Engineer, Ashley Mather, said: “We are extremely delighted to see another phase of the Community Sprinkler Project completed. Our aim at SFRS was to have sprinklers retrofitted in all residential buildings of five floors or more by 2026 and we are well on our way to achieving that goal. We also expect to have all of Staffordshire’s 42 mid-to-high-rise buildings fitted with these systems ahead of schedule.
“It is thanks to the fantastic partnership working with contractors, the residents and Tamworth Borough Council, that we have been able to successfully complete this phase of the project. Hundreds of people in the town will be safer in their homes if a fire was to break out.”
Carl Yale, Regional Refurbishment Director for Lovell, which has an office in Tamworth, said: “We are delighted to have successfully completed this significant fire safety project for Tamworth Borough Council and the residents of the flats.
“The project has been a real success and we would like to thank the council and Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service for their support in assisting us in engaging with the residents to promote the retro-fit of potentially lifesaving sprinklers into their homes and communal areas.
“The residents have been brilliant throughout the project and the positive feedback that we have received has been excellent. I would like to extend our appreciation to our project management and installation teams who have completed the project within budget and ahead of programme, enabling the new sprinkler systems to be commissioned quickly, enhancing the fire safety measures for the residents.”