Council and Merthyr Valleys Homes give reassurances following Grenfell

  • Categories : Press Release
  • 06 Jul 2017
St Tydfil's Court

Tenants of Merthyr Tydfil’s high-rise block have been reassured by Merthyr Valleys Homes that every step had already been taken to ensure their safety prior to the tragic fire at Grenfell Tower, London.

Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council and the housing association have nevertheless been working in partnership to allay the concerns of residents of St Tydfil’s Court in Caedraw about a possible similar incident there.

Local councillors, MTCBC officers, representatives of Merthyr Valleys Homes (MVH) and the Fire and Rescue Service have been to St Tydfil’s Court to engage with members of the public.

Mike Owen, Chief Executive of MVH - which owns and manages St Tydfil’s Court -said: “The report that was issued following the Lakanal House fire in 2009 led us to review fire safety, and we have since carried out a lot of fire safety improvements in St Tydfil’s Court.

“We have worked very closely with the South Wales Fire and Rescue Service and the residents and have installed a range of fire safety measures. We have used a very different type of insulation to that used in Grenfell Tower.

“On the morning after the tragic event at Grenfell Tower, we met with colleagues from MTCBC and the Fire and Rescue Service.  A team of staff from MVH, along with Watch Commander Tim Davies from South Wales Fire and Rescue Service, went to St Tydfil’s Court by 10am that morning to answer questions and provide information to residents.”

The day after the event, BBC Radio Wales visited St Tydfil’s Court, along with an independent fire safety expert, to carry out an interview.  They examined what fire safety checks and measures were in place and provided independent assurance that the measures already in the block are good practice.

St Tydfil’s Court has in place:

  • a sprinkler system installed in flats and communal areas
  • a fire detection and alarm system which is linked to the Fire and Rescue Service
  • fire doors which include intumescent seals, even on the letterboxes, to control the spread of smoke.
  • compartmentalisation of floors, which is designed to protect the escape staircase, subdivide the lobbies and further protect each individual flat
  • external wall insulation cladding which has fire resisting construction
  • a clear corridor policy designed to limit potential fuel sources, and the corridors painted with a specialist paint that does not burn
  • a ‘dry riser’ for use by the fire service in addition to their hydraulic platform which can reach to the top of the block

As well as to these measures, all statutory inspections - including gas and electrics - are up to date.

The fire station at Merthyr Tydfil is also a 24/7 fire station that has specialist equipment that can reach to the top floor of St Tydfil’s Court.  One of the main issues in Grenfell Tower has been the cladding on the block and the installation methods used. 

St Tydfil’s Court has a very different product called Rockwool that meets a very high Euroclass safety categorisation, does not burn and only melts at 1000 degrees.  The insulation at St Tydfil’s Court has been bolted to the concrete and is rendered directly over. 

MTCBC Leader Cllr Kevin O’Neill said: “I’m pleased that Merthyr Valleys Homes takes the health and safety of all its tenants very seriously.  As well as being one of the few social housing providers to install sprinklers in its tower block, it also works very closely with the Council and our colleagues at South Wales Fire and Rescue Service to make things as safe as possible.

“The Council has had an emergency planning meeting with MVH and together its officers have drawn up detailed information on the materials used on energy efficiency measures relating to other homes across the borough that have received external wall insulation under a number of recent schemes, including Arbed, Arbed 2, Warm Homes or MVH only schemes.”



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