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New Research Shows 60% of High-Rise Fires start externally

Updated: Oct 29, 2021

There are an estimated 321,000 people living in tall apartment blocks in this country that are deemed to be unsafe because of the type of exterior cladding fitted.


And four years on since the Grenfell Tower fire, it is no surprise these homeowners are increasingly angry about the snail’s-pace progress of getting the problem fixed, the increasing bills they are facing and the fact many are unable to sell their homes.

While the waking watch, which requires trained fire marshals to patrol premises 24 hours a day to look out for fires, was introduced as a stopgap, a myriad of problems have been highlighted.

Not only is this system costing the average flat owner £331 a year, there have been questions as to whether or not these security staff could evacuate hundreds of residents from a building in 10 minutes.

The system, which was only meant to be a temporary solution, according to the National Fire Chiefs Council, has also been embroiled in controversy because of the number of reports of marshalls sleeping on the job, watching TV or taking cigarette breaks.

It is clear a better solution is needed - especially when you realise that since 2010, 60% of all high-rise façade fires across the globe have started externally. These included discarded cigarettes on balconies, external lighting malfunctions, air conditioning units breaking down and fires in bins.

So what can building owners do to ensure residents are alerted as early as possible in the event of a fire?

One obvious answer is the Intelliclad system, which is the only one available that is suitable for detecting external fires before they spread internally.

It is easy to see why: when it underwent rigorous testing with the Fire Protection Association in October 2020, following three years of development, it was hailed a significant success. The sensors provide a fast response to fire and is a quicker, more cost-effective alternative to the waking watch system.

Installed to NFCC requirements, the technology can alert residents individually via an app installed on their smartphones and in our test with the FPA, the first smoke sensor was activated in just five minutes and nine seconds after the blaze was started - and the first alarm sounded six minutes and 33 seconds before the external cladding cavity was breached.

Every second counts when evacuating a building, so it makes sense for building owners to have a failsafe system in place that provides peace of mind and does not rely on human error. Intelliclad isn’t just a solution for buildings with unsafe cladding - it is also ideal for any cladded building.

If you are interested in finding out how installing Intelliclad could safeguard the homeowners in your high or medium-rise buildings, at a more cost-effective price, contact the team today.


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