This post was first published by Croydon Advertiser on 29/06/2017.
Owner of Croydon’s tallest skyscraper explains why it does not have sprinklers fitted
The company which owns Croydon’s tallest skyscraper has explained why it doesn’t have sprinklers fitted in the tower.The Saffron Square tower was completed in 2016 and its multi-coloured facade, at 43-storeys high, stands prominently along Croydon’s skyline.
Following the Grenfell Tower fire, the question as to whether tall buildings should have sprinklers installed was brought into the spotlight.
Regulations in England currently mean that only buildings constructed since 2007 and which are taller than 30 metres are required to have sprinklers fitted.
A spokeswoman for Berkeley Homes, which owns Saffron, said it abides to 2006 building regulations, because that’s when the site was acquired and registered. It was granted planning permission in 2008.
She added: “The integrity of a building is not determined by one element or product. The key is to understand how each whole building is designed, assembled and managed.
“The London Fire Brigade reviewed fire safety compliance at Saffron Square throughout the design and tested it in 2016.
“The building includes fire breaks throughout the cladding system, between each apartment and separating each floor.
“There are wet risers permanently charged with water servicing every floor as well as a smoke ventilation system, rather than sprinklers.
“We have also appointed an independent expert to review our fire safety strategy and procedures on a regular basis and we routinely work on fire safety with the residents.”
Wet risers are pipes which are permanently charged with water, unlike dry risers which enables the fire service to pump water up.
When asked whether Berkeley would be considering installing sprinklers now, the spokeswoman said they did not wish to offer further comment at this time.
The tower is a double-glazed, heat-toughened glass facade encased in an aluminium sub frame and the steel casing between the floors is designed to stop the fire spreading vertically, the spokeswoman said.
The spokeswoman said after the fatal fire in Southwark in 2009, Berkeley Homes reviewed all escape routes, distances and possible obstructions.
She said: “Throughout the construction, we worked closely with our insurers, the council and the London Fire Brigade, while the National House Building Council signed off building control and warranty.
“Berkeley also employed an independent fire consultant to oversee construction.
“Weekly fire alarm checks are carried out by the management company. All maintenance records are up to date. We also operate ‘live disaster recovery’ drills as part of which the onsite team carry out rehearsals of major incidents.”
The Advertiser has approached the Ruskin Square developers, Schroders and Stanhope, Menta, who are behind the Morello build, and Guildhouse Rosepride, who hope to build One Lansdowne, HML Andertons, which manage Altitude 25 in Altyre Road, and Criterion Capital, which is redeveloping Delta Point, on if they use cladding in their developments and other fire safety questions.
We are yet to receive a response.