Bracknell Forest Council is deeply saddened by the tragedy at the Grenfell Tower in West London and our thoughts are with everybody affected by it.
We know the fire has caused concern nationally and locally, specifically regarding the aluminium composite cladding of buildings and many residents have approached us with questions. We can confirm that no flats managed by Bracknell Forest Council have been clad with this material; we have officially confirmed this to the Department for Communities and Local Government.
We manage a total of 96 flats above shops with a maximum height of five storeys. The occupiers are either tenants of Bracknell Forest Homes, or they may own a long lease interest, while a few are included in the commercial lease of a shop. Two flats within the borough are used to house homeless people, directly managed by the council.
Comprehensive Fire Risk Assessments (FRAs) were carried out for all flats above shops in September 2011 and no significant building alterations have been undertaken on these flats since. Building surveyors are due to carry out new assessments this summer. All fire doors, fire fighting equipment, common areas, fire alarms, and escape routes will be checked as part of the process.
Over the summer, significant external work to the flats above Harmans Water shops will be carried out. All residents are being contacted in advance of the work. It will include replacing all the cladding, which is not the same or similar to the aluminium cladding system used at Grenfell Tower. Bracknell Forest's building surveyors have checked the technical details supplied by the contractor to confirm all materials comply with the British standards for fire safety.
Like all local authorities, Bracknell Forest Council has various duties in relation to civil emergencies. Along with other organisations we regularly identify potential risks within the borough. We try to make sure we are able to respond to all eventualities by ensuring that services across the council are ready to work to prepared plans.
We work closely with other agencies, such as the emergency services, and our neighbouring councils to make sure all of our plans fit well together.
You can find out more about the council's emergency planning system on our webpages.
Fire safety advice for people living in flats is available on the Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service website.