Agenda item

Carl Ekman House Compliance & Improvement Works


The Compliance & Projects Officer gave a presentation to update the Committee on the substantial compliance, health and safety, energy sustainability and improvement works carried out at Carl Ekman House and works planned for 2022/2023.


Carl Ekman House is the tallest GBC residential building in the borough with 14 floors. The Building Safety Bill introduces new requirements for building owners and landlords to assess and manage building safety risks in high-rise residential buildings. Reasonable measures must be taken to manage the risk of the spread of fire and structural failure.


As well as meeting requirements and safety of tenants much of the work will prolong the life of the building and reduce future maintenance. In addition, delivering energy efficiency measures such as renewable heating and solar PV will contribute to climate change, thus reducing carbon emissions, lowering energy consumption and fuel bills for tenants and the council.


Highlights in making the building safer:


·         As a result of the degrading condition of the 60 year old water main, soil vent and rainwater pipework a new booster pump system was installed to ensure water supply is maintained in the event of a major power cut

·         Fire sprinkler upgrade – As part of the water mains upgrade it presented us with an opportunity to upgrade to the latest system

·         Evacuation Alert Control & Indicating Equipment – Upgraded as part of the upgrade to the sprinkler system. It is operated by the Fire Service via a control panel located on the ground floor.

·         Flat Entrance Fire Door Replacement Programme – The new doors have data pin identification which can be read by a mobile device linked to a web based platform which allows us to digitally record installation certification, component parts and maintenance records

·         Balcony Safety Guards – To install steel mesh to all three sides of each balcony and eliminate the gaps between the metal railings to provide a safer balcony for residents and mitigate danger from falling items

·         Passenger Lifts Replacement – Replaced with new modern gearless versions which can travel at a faster speed, are more energy efficient and have a quieter and smoother operation. They will be easier to maintain, increase reliability and provide a cleaner, more welcoming experience for residents and visitors. Also installed cloud-based remote monitoring equipment. The lift can be viewed live via CCTV and controlled remotely via the web-based portal. Faults can be identified faster

·         New motor room equipment – a number of service and maintenance inspections are carried out, gas, electrical safety etc which would take 5-6 days for different inspections. What we are doing in the high-rise schemes is incorporating them in safety inspection days to reduce the inconvenience of residents having to stay home 5-6 times over the year to carry out this work. It has given us a better non-access rate, we now achieve 90% access whereas before it was 70=80%. It provides a more efficient joined-up service and feedback has been very positive from residents

·         Currently reviewing options to improve the front entrance as the existing is both uninviting and confined for residents and visitors alike. One option is to bring the front entrance out in line with the front of the building to create a modern frontage which provides space and light for a welcoming area and a more inviting experience for all

·         Also looking at a ground source heat pump to reduce carbon emissions and the team are currently carrying out a feasibility study. The work is dependent on funding but it’s important that the work is scoped out so we can move quickly if a funding stream becomes available


Following questions and comments from Members, the Compliance & Projects Officer highlighted the following:


·         Members congratulated the team on the presentation and the scale of the work

·         All of the essential work has been carried out within budget and with any remaining funds there is the potential to replace the communal floor covering as there is a lot of wear and tear

·         The sprinkler heads in flats – there would be one per room although a larger room such as a lounge may have 2. It would be activated by heat at 65 degrees

·         There are still smoke detectors in the flats which would activate first.

·         The sprinkler will only activate in the room where the fire is and will knock off the sprinkler cover to activate and run for approximately 20 minutes and then shut off, this gives time for the Fire Service to attend

·         It is a requirement to do an annual safety inspection but also as part of the safety day an engineer checks that heads are not obstructed


The Committee thanked the Compliance & Projects Officer for the presentation.


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