RE: FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 2000 REQUEST
I am writing to confirm that the West Midlands Fire Service has now completed its search for the information you requested on 6th July 2017.
Please find below a summary of our findings.
We were at the Fire Authority meeting last week when the Chief mentioned that there are 400 high-rise blocks in the WMFS area, but that no cladding failures had been identified (ie by the date of the meeting). Could we please have a breakdown of the numbers for Birmingham and the Black Country boroughs, including how many high-rises (or other premises) have had their cladding checked since Grenfell and have there been any failures?
We have visited numerous residential blocks within the Brigade area alongside colleagues based at Operational stations as part of our structured Site Specific Risk Information programme, which assists us in confirming emergency arrangements on site and also familiarise our teams with the building layout and firefighting considerations. The purpose of these visits is to not only enhance our response capability but also to ensure public and firefighter safety.
We have also assisted Local Authorities in joint visits to provide assurance to residents and advice as required.
The figures below are for the properties we inspected for potential cladding issues.
High Rise Blocks
8 Black Country
1 Black Country
Of the above 6 properties have failed cladding tests as follows:-
4 Black Country
I was just hoping to get a bit more detail regarding the high-rise block locations please. You have listed figures for high-rise blocks in Wolverhampton and the Black Country, but Wolverhampton is in the Black Country so it makes it a bit confusing as this could mean the figures overlap.
Could you please break down the figures for the Black Country – in the three categories you have provided the figures for (high rise blocks, other premises and cladding failures) – so they are listed under the four Black Country boroughs of Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall and Wolverhampton instead if possible?
Black Country High rise
5 in Sandwell
Black Country Other Premises
Of the above properties have failed cladding tests in Black Country boroughs as follows:-
2 West Bromwich
Also how would you define ‘other premises’, as opposed to ‘high rise blocks’?
Any other building that is not a high rise residential building would be defined as other premises.
Addresses and boroughs of the six buildings that failed inspections
This information is exempted under Section 38 as inappropriate disclosure of the information would be likely to endanger the physical and/or mental health and safety of individuals. The reason for my decision is as follows:
- Currently local authorities and landlords are submitting samples to the Building Research Establishment (BRE) and in conjunction with the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG).
- The results will be shared with local authorities and housing associations so that they can communicate with their residents first and provide a level of reassurance and safety advice.
- Pre-emptive information without context about affected buildings if disclosed into the public domain would be likely to cause widespread panic and anxiety and therefore affect the health and well-being of residents or service users in other buildings.
- I have attached correspondence from the DCLG entitled “GOVERNMENT BUILDING SAFETY PROGRAMME – UPDATE AND ADVICE FOR BUILDING OWNERS ON LARGE SCALE TESTING”. In Section 18, the advice from DCLG is for the owners to implement the interim fire safety measures.
You will also not that under Section 13 of the correspondence above, the DCLG will be making the information publicly available so the information that you have requested is exempt under Section 22 of the Freedom of Information Act as it is marked for future publication.
If there are any further queries then please get in touch with the Press Office
If you have any queries about this email, please contact me. Please remember to quote the reference number above in any future communications. If you are unhappy with the service you have received in relation to your request and wish to make a complaint or request a review of our decision please write to The Public Relations Department, West Midlands Fire Service, 99 Vauxhall Road, Birmingham, B7 4HW
Further information concerning Freedom of Information requests can be found on the Information Commissioner website at either the following link: https://ico.org.uk/ or at Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, SK9 5AF.