In the wake of the Grenfell Tower tragedy it is not just the landlords of high rise council tower blocks and those in the public sector who should be concerned about the presence of combustible cladding in their buildings, writes Alan Davies, partner, Pitmans Law
Landlords of hotels and indeed of all premises in the hospitality and leisure industry have a duty to ensure that their premises are safe for all persons who use them and should be proactive in the ongoing compliance with their obligations. They should check the fire safety accreditation and building regulation compliance of any panelling used in their buildings and contact their surveyors or architects for advice.
If their premises contain cladding panels which are found to contain Aluminium Composite Material (ACM) or similar materials, they may not be compliant with the requirements of current Building Regulations guidance. Samples of any such materials can be provided for verification to independent testing facilities such as The Building Research Establishment (BRE).
If the materials are non-compliant, measures would include informing the local fire and rescue service requesting they carry out an urgent inspection and checking of the most recent fire risk assessment for the buildings concerned and considering action to have the panels removed.
In addition, as a matter of good practice, full fire safety checks should be implemented including ensuring that all entrance doors, and doors that open onto escape corridors and stairways, are fire resisting and effective in self-closing. Also check all walls, plant and store rooms to ensure there are no obvious routes for fire or smoke to spread such as holes where pipes and cables pass through walls.
Smoke control systems, including associated fire detection and suppression systems (including sufficient and appropriate fire extinguishers) should be tested to make sure they are operating correctly and if there is no sprinkler system, landlords are recommended to take advice on installation.
Pitmans Law is a Businesss Partner of the Institute of Hospitality