Frequently Asked Questions

Ashby’s Point: frequently asked questions

By March 25, 2020 No Comments

Here’s some of our frequently asked questions around fire safety at Ashby’s Point. We will continue to update this page as and when we have more information to share with you.

General questions answered

Q: Is Ashby’s Point safe to occupy? / Is there a fire risk?

Yes, Ashby’s Point is completely safe and by closing the car park, we have mitigated the risk of fire. 

For background information, when Ashby’s Point was built 10 years ago, it met all fire and building regulations required.  Today, there is more knowledge about how certain materials behave and the latest government fire safety recommendation is that detailed surveys of buildings over 18 metres, like Ashby’s Point, are carried out.

A team of fire specialists were commissioned to survey the building. Their initial report raised concerns about the impact a car fire in the car park could have on the building above. Nothing in the report suggests there is any more likelihood of fire but in the event of a fire in the car park, there is concern that it could spread more rapidly to the external timber cladding.

Given this information we had no choice other than to clear the car park immediately, which we know is inconvenient for our residents, but safety must come first. We are now exploring what works are needed to safely reinstate the car park as soon as possible and to ensure that Ashby’s Point will pass safety guidelines in the longer term.

Q: How long will the car park be closed for?

The car park will have to remain out of use until the remedial work has been carried out and the building meets the safety new requirements.  We are investigating the exact scope of what needs to be done and how the work will be scheduled.  Once this is in place, we will be able to share more information about timescales.  Rest assured that alternative parking arrangements will be provided until the car park is reinstated.

Q: Who carried out the assessment and can we have a copy of the fire report?

Ashby’s Point was surveyed by a team of professional fire specialists led by a member of the Institution of Fire Engineers.  The resulting report is a technical document written for a very specific professional audience to enable them to make key decisions about the building and is therefore not intended for general distribution.

Q: Why do fire safety rules mean residents can’t keep personal belongings in the hallways?

The latest fire safety guidelines recommend a “sterile corridor policy” which means that nothing – not even a doormat – can be left in public areas.  We understand that it is frustrating for residents not to be able to keep things like prams, bikes and buggies in the hallways but safety in our buildings has to be the priority. If there was an emergency, items in the hallways would make it much more difficult to evacuate the building safely and could delay response officers gaining access.  We are sorry for the inconvenience but hope you understand that we must prioritise the safety of all our residents.  There is more information here.

Q: Why are you installing new energy meters?

For some years, we have been using an independent energy company to review this complex market and identify the best deals for our residents.

We are now planning to install new pre-paid energy meters for your heating and hot water supplies. This will give you complete control over your energy consumption and allow you to budget more effectively.

The installation cost of the meters will not be recharged to you and the tariff will be chosen in partnership with an energy broker to obtain the cheapest rates for you.

Shared Owners / Leaseholders

Q: Why do I need an EWS1 certificate to remortgage, staircase or sell my flat?

Following the tragic Grenfell fire, landlords of tower blocks were requested to carry out detailed fire inspections.

It is now recognised that information about the materials involved in the construction of Ashby’s Point, and their potential for fire spread, was not fully known at the time. Live testing instead of desk top reports and fire engineering have brought about new insights, and measures have been taken with that information in mind to reduce the risk involved.

As a professional and caring landlord, we commissioned an assessment of Ashby’s Point by a team of four fire specialists. We have now reviewed their report and will soon embark on the multi-million pound programme of improvements.

You may have seen media coverage about lenders not approving mortgages for some flat owners because they do not have an updated fire certificate (called an EWS1).  At the end of the project, Ashby’s Point will have comprehensive fire safety cover, including an ESW1. This will allow leaseholders to remortgage, staircase or sell their home. You can find more on EWS1 certificate here.

Q: Will I be able to re-enter into a parking licence once the car park re-opens

Yes you will be able to enter into a parking license when the car park re-opens