“A fire risk assessment was also completed by an independent assessor on the property prior to acquisition. These assessments did not highlight any problems with works completed.”
All the members of the team who have visited Ross House ask is: how did they not notice any compartmentalisation to prevent fire spreading from one flat to another? The same goes for the loft space, no firewalls to slow the fire for 30 minutes. No expanding seals on the doors and doors which were not fire compliant amongst other issues.
The Council knew back in April 2017 they wished to purchase Ross House. They did so in April 2018 as part of the council’s Housing Revenue Account New Build & Acquisition Programme. And then farmed it out to East Kent Housing.
We know the second fire risk assessment in Nov 2018 was “intolerable“. The Council did nothing for a year. When they did act they put in place 24 hour security/fire watch presence at Ross House. If the situation is not as bad as the Council says it is, why these extreme measures?
The council say they are committed to ensuring residents safety in Ross House and in other council-owned housing across the district and will ensure that these concerns are fully addressed as a priority. If the job had been done properly neither the Council or East Kent Housing would be in the mess they are in. Perhaps this a good example of the Peter Principle in action.
EKH will more likely than not become a dead duck sometime in the new year, after the consultation results are known. Why work for a company which has had such bad publicity nationally and led to Rosie Duffield MP to ask questions in Parliament about safety concerns of Gas Safety Certificates?
East Kent Housing are currently working closely with the council’s Building Control Team . According to a response given to Cllr Gary Fuller (Lib Dem) at full Council last night, Building Control visited Ross House on seven occasions between April 2017 and April 2018. And not once did they notice the lack of fire compartmentation – this stops fire spreading – or lack of fire seals on the doors, or the fact that the doors were not fire complaint, nobody noticed and these are qualified people… scary.
The Council agreed to grant itself access to £100 million last night at full Council for their Otterpool Park project. Perhaps if only a fraction of this sum was spent on bringing all the Council homes in the district up to the Decent Homes Standard and maintaining that standard, we would have no more Ross House’s or issues with Landlord Gas Safety Certificates, legionella, electrical or lift issues.
All parties are to blame for Ross House, The Council, EKH and the Developer. The fact they are putting it right out of legal necessity rather than choice, demonstrates quite clearly the refurb and the signing off were not done properly. For if it were, it wouldn’t need doing all again.
The Shepwayvox Team
Journalism for the People NOT the Powerful