30 / 10 / 2018

Sprinklers will soon be installed throughout Tamworth’s six high rise buildings after a £1.5million contract to carry out the work was officially awarded to Lovell.

The project will see sprinklers being fitted in communal areas and individual flats within the six town centre apartment buildings, plus a medium-rise block in Eringden, Stonydelph, to enhance the existing fire safety features.

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 has now been awarded to Tamworth-based Lovell which will spend the coming weeks drawing up detailed design plans and consulting with residents before the work takes place.

Cllr Michelle Thurgood, Tamworth Borough Council’s Cabinet member for Housing Services and Neighbourhoods, said: “The installation of sprinklers throughout our high rise and medium rise buildings will supplement 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 hope the majority will take up our offer.

“Council staff have been consulting with tenants and leaseholders about these plans over the past 12 months, but now that the contract has been awarded they should soon start to see some detailed plans and timelines for when the work will be carried out.

“We’re grateful to the assistance from Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service, which helped us secure the successful tender with Lovell.”

Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service’s Community Sprinkler Project lead, Station Manager, Stuart Ruckledge, said: “Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service started its sprinkler project in 2016 with the aim of encouraging sprinkler systems to be installed in all 47 mid to high rise buildings in Staffordshire by 2026. It is fantastic to see that aim well ahead of schedule.

“These residents will now be as safe from fire as they can be and this is largely due to the commitment that Tamworth Borough Council has shown to fire safety. The council has shown great support of the project and it is great to see this next step in the process being fulfilled.”

Carl Yale, regional refurbishment director for Lovell, which has an office in Tamworth, said: “We are delighted to have been awarded this important contract. We have extensive experience in fire protection, undertaking large retrofit programmes in high-rise blocks, and look forward to working closely with residents, Tamworth Borough Council and Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service to deliver these enhanced fire safety measures for local high-rise buildings.

“This significant fire safety project will see residents involved throughout the programme. We will help them to understand the importance of the project, raise awareness of fire safety and ensure they feel confident in allowing us into their homes as access will be crucial to enable the sprinkler systems to be installed and commissioned quickly.”