Talking building and fire safety with tenants

A great day meeting Northumbria Lodge tenants to discuss building and fire safety and the range of measures Bernicia has introduced to keep people safe in their homes.

Our housing, estates and compliance teams met with tenants over a cuppa to talk about their lives in the Cowgate tower block – at 38 metres high, one of Newcastle’s tallest buildings.

Bernicia has introduced a comprehensive package of safety measures at the building containing 48 flats – our team taking time to listen to tenants at a meeting in the next door Newcastle United Golf Club, to tackle any concerns they have and get their feedback on the new safety measures.

These new safety measures include:

  • Installation of a new state-of-the-art fire sprinkler system in the building
  • Fitting of new fire doors throughout the building
  • A full fire survey of the external wall of the building, by a chartered fire engineer.
  • Fire compartmentation work in flats and communal areas, which stops the spread of flames
  • A full structural survey of the building by a chartered structural engineer (CK21)
  • Abseil repair team from Rope Access Management Solutions repairing brickwork and resealing windows
  • Completion of a building safety case and building safety report
  • Regular fire and safety inspections, weekly fire alarm checks and six-monthly fire risk assessments
  • Daily general checks of the building

Bernicia has also invested £100,000 to replace the building’s old roof with a new one, made of liquid membrane on top of fibre glass and a course outer felt to ensure the roof is watertight for at least the next 25 years.

Tenant Maureen, who has lived in Northumbria Lodge for 12 years, said: “I feel safe in my home with the new sprinkler system, knowing they’ll go off in the event of a fire.

“I can’t get down the stairs easily because of my mobility but I feel safe because if there’s a fire in my property, they would go off and everything would be okay. The new fire doors we have are much better than the old ones and the safety aspect of the building is much better.”

Arthur Dodds, 67, who owns the Northumbria Lodge flat he’s lived in for nearly 20 years, said: “I’m happy in my home. The new fire doors they’ve fitted are first class. I feel safe in my flat because it’s a proper front door.

“I know the sprinkler is there and if there’s a fire it will put it straight out.”

Many thanks to everyone who attended the event and to Newcastle United Golf Club and its members for their fantastic hospitality.