As an L&Q customer, please be assured that fire safety is always a priority for us. To keep your home safe, we maintain fire risk assessments. When we carry out communal area inspections, we check that fire equipment is not damaged and that there are no fire risks in the communal areas.
We have a 'stay put' strategy in place in many of our buildings. Stay put strategies are often used in buildings where the fire can be contained where it started and where there is little risk of the fire spreading. If you’re concerned, or fire or smoke affects your home you should leave the building immediately using the nearest escape route. There is more information on this in the fire safety FAQs below.
All of our fire safety arrangements are reviewed by the London Fire Brigade with whom we have entered into a Primary Authority Partnership Scheme. We work closely with the fire authorities and local councils to ensure all fire safety requirements are met, and are kept up-to-date in the event of change. Making sure our residents have a safe place to live is incredibly important to us and we continuously review and improve our fire safety arrangements.
If you live in a block with a communal area, there should be a fire action notice posted on your communal noticeboard which advises you of what to do in the event of a fire. For more advice and guidance on fire safety visit your local fire brigade website and take a look at this leaflet produced by the London Fire Brigade.
Fire Safety FAQs
What are L&Q doing following the Grenfell Tower fire?
To ensure your safety in your home, fire risk assessments are carried out in all blocks with a communal area, such as a stairwell or corridor. We review supported housing schemes and blocks over six storeys high once a year. All our fire risk assessments are currently up to date. However, in light of the tragic events at Grenfell Tower, we are now carrying out extra safety reviews of all blocks over six storeys to make double-sure our residents are safe. We prioritise risk assessments for older and vulnerable residents, as well as those living in high rise blocks. While the circumstances behind the fire are still unclear, we very quickly surveyed the cladding on all our tower blocks. The vast majority of cladding on L&Q’s tower blocks is not made from ACM (aluminium composite material, the type of cladding which is of concern). We will consider all possible methods of mitigating fire risk - cost will not, and never has been, a barrier to providing the most appropriate solution. We are also reviewing our Group-wide fire risk strategy. When are the fire risks assessments happening? We have urgently reviewed all fire risk assessments for tower blocks of 10 storeys and over. We are now working on tower blocks of between six and nine storeys.
Does my building comply with fire regulations?
All our blocks meet building regulations and are fully compliant with safety requirements which are based on a number of fire safety components. Fire safety legislation requires us to carry out regular fire risk assessments and an internal team of fire risk assessors do this on our behalf. Also, housing management teams and caretakers regularly visit properties and raise repairs where necessary and make sure the communal areas are kept clear. All of our properties that have communal areas have suitable fire risk assessments.
What are the fire arrangements for my property?
You’ll find a fire action notice displayed in the entrance or ground floor communal area of your building. If you cannot find your fire action notice, please contact your property / housing manager. Remember, if you have a fire in your own home (or fire or smoke affects it from elsewhere) you should leave immediately and call 999.
Should I leave or stay in the event of a fire?
Evacuation procedures vary depending on the building. The recommended approach for your building will be set out in a fire safety notice in the communal areas. In many purpose built blocks of flats (not houses that have been converted into flats), a “stay put” approach is usually recommended. The materials your building is made out of are designed to contain a fire inside one flat. This means that if there is a fire in another flat in your block, you do not need to leave immediately and will be safer in your home. However, if you are in a communal area or you discover a fire in your home, leave immediately, close your front door behind you and call 999. In most converted houses, you should leave immediately if a fire breaks out in another part of the building.
What is the evacuation plan for my building?
You’ll find a fire action notice displayed in the entrance or ground floor communal area of your building. If you cannot find your fire action notice, please contact your property / housing manager. If your building operates a stay put strategy, this means the walls and ceilings between flats are sufficient to contain a fire, meaning you don’t need to be notified immediately of a fire elsewhere in the building. However, if fire or smoke affects your home, or if you’re instructed by the fire service to leave, you should do so at once. If your building operates an evacuation strategy, in the event of an alarm sounding, you should leave the building immediately and call 999.
My building has cladding. Could a fire spread in the same way here?
As part of our fire safety reviews, we have surveyed and tested the cladding on our high rise blocks, in line with government guidelines. The vast majority of cladding on L&Q’s tower blocks is not made from aluminium composite material (ACM - the type of cladding which is of concern). In the very few cases where ACM cladding is present, we have:
- Notified the fire brigade and carried out a joint inspection
- Notified and met with residents and provided fire safety advice
- Placed a security team on site to patrol the blocks 24 hours a day
- Checked all onsite fire safety systems such as automatic opening vents (AOV) and emergency lighting
We are working closely with the fire brigade, taking their expert advice, and will do whatever we can to minimise the risk to residents. All our blocks, even those with ACM cladding, meet building regulations and are fully compliant with safety requirements which are based on a number of fire safety components.
What type of cladding is provided on my building?
The vast majority of cladding on L&Q’s tower blocks is not made from aluminium composite material (ACM - the type of cladding which is of concern). Only eight blocks have been found to feature ACM cladding and residents in each of these blocks have been informed, along with the fire brigade.
Are you removing ACM cladding?
Yes. We are replacing all Aluminium Composite Material (ACM) cladding that does not meet the new government safety recommendations introduced since the Grenfell tragedy. These recommendations apply to building that are 18 metres tall or more, which is roughly equal to six storeys. We are doing our best to replace the cladding on these as quickly as we can.
Do we need communal fire alarms?
No. Building regulations and other guidance recommends that communal fire alarms are not necessary in purpose built blocks of flats as in the event of a fire, only residents in the affected property need to evacuate. The walls and ceilings between flats are sufficient to contain a fire, meaning you don’t need to be notified immediately of a fire elsewhere in the building. However, if fire or smoke affects your home, or if you’re instructed by the fire service to leave, you should do so at once. My home does not have a smoke alarm. Following the fire at Grenfell Tower, we have taken the decision to provide smoke alarms to all our managed homes. You can request a smoke alarm from your property or housing manager. In time we will replace these with mains wired detectors. If you are concerned about fire safety in your home, contact your local fire service who will arrange to visit you and carry out a Home Fire Safety Visit.
Why does my building not have sprinklers?
Blocks of flats built since April 2007 must have sprinkler systems if the building is 30 metres high or more. This is roughly equal to ten storeys or higher. Fire regulations do not state that sprinkler systems must be installed in older blocks and smaller blocks.
Can fire extinguishers be provided in my block?
The communal areas in your block should be kept clear meaning fire extinguishers are not needed. The fire brigade prefer that fire extinguishers are not provided, because they do not want residents to fight a potentially dangerous fire themselves, as this could put you at greater risk. If you discover a fire in your home, leave immediately, close your front door behind you and call 999.
How can I help prevent a fire in my building?
There are lots of things that you can do to keep your home and your building safe from fire:
- Keep communal areas clear. Items blocking communal areas can help a fire to spread and also block your escape routes. This includes not leaving buggies, bicycles, thick or curled doormats, laundry, shoes or any other items in communal areas, entranceways or corridors
- Keep your balcony clear at all times. Balcony fires are not uncommon and often caused through the poor disposal of cigarette butts from above. Items left on the balcony increase this risk. Don’t use barbecues or leave flammable items such as gas bottles on your balcony
- Don’t leave any open flames such as candles unattended
- If you smoke in your home, make sure all cigarettes are properly extinguished. It’s safer to smoke outside
- If you use heaters, make sure they’re never covered or near any other items
- Make sure any electrical appliances and devices are in good condition
- Make sure the fire doors in both your home and communal areas are kept closed at all times – this is crucial in preventing the spread of fire
- Do not tamper with the electrical or gas supply to your home
- Do not block any vents in your home
- Allow us access to your property to carry out your yearly gas equipment inspection
Make sure your family know what to do in the event of fire. If you have any concerns and would like to speak to someone at L&Q, please call us on 0300 456 9996 or complete our online contact form.
How safe are my electrical goods?
Appliances with the EU’s ‘CE’ mark are considered to be safe. Unfortunately, the Chinese Export mark is confusingly similar. If you have any doubts about any of your appliances, check with the manufacturer first of all. Their website will let you know if they have recalled any of their products. In general, we recommend that you turn off any appliance immediately if it begins making different noises, running differently or gives off a burning smell. Inspect the appliance, lead and plug for damage. If you cannot see an issue, you should either call out someone to repair the appliance or dispose of it safely. If you are disposing of an electrical item, remember to cut off the plug and lead once disconnected from the mains, to prevent someone picking it up and reusing it.
Who should I contact if I discover a fire?
If you discover a fire in your home, leave immediately, close your front door behind you and call 999.
The recent tragedy at Grenfell Tower has brought the topic of fire safety to the forefront of everyone’s minds. To read more about L&Q’s response to this, see our news centre.
Any residents with specific questions about their properties should contact us online and we will be happy to look into these.
As always, if you see or suspect a fire please call 999 immediately.