The safety and wellbeing of our residents and employees is iQ Student Accommodation’s number one priority.
Our buildings are modern, purpose-built, student accommodation, and we have extensive fire safety systems in place in all our buildings. These are inspected by external qualified fire risk assessors and audited by our own internal specialist health and safety officers on a regular basis to validate our fire safety systems, policies and procedures.
Following the devastating fire at Grenfell Tower in June 2017, we have undertaken a proactive and comprehensive fire safety assessment of our properties around the country – looking at all aspects of our fire and life safety policies and procedures to confirm that we have taken all possible steps to ensure the safety and wellbeing of residents and employees.
As a responsible landlord, we closely follow MHCLG guidance, and regularly conduct detailed reviews of our portfolio and proactively liaise with local Fire and Rescue Services on an ongoing basis. We have also retained an independent cladding consultancy to review a small number of properties which have cladding systems comprised of composite materials to ensure that our risk assessments for each site are in line with the latest guidance issued by authorities.
After careful consideration, we have been undertaking improvement works in a small number of properties to further enhance the measures that are already in place.
Penworks House, Birmingham
At Penworks House, Birmingham, we wanted to do more. After careful consideration we have been undertaking an improvement programme that includes the removal and replacement of the cladding system – augmenting the current required safety standards to make these lasting improvements. The programme is a significant undertaking that will take over 18 months to complete.
As it is not practical for students to be resident in the building whilst work is taking place, the site is closed and will reopen for the start of the 2019/20 academic year.
All of our buildings comply with Building Regulations and have appropriate fire safety systems installed for that particular scheme. These include smoke or heat detectors in every bedroom and kitchen and in some properties, depending on the building design, may also include sprinklers, wet risers and automatic smoke ventilation. All our buildings have L (Life) class fire alarm systems and a 24/7 staff presence on site or nearby – all of whom are trained in how to respond to fire alerts, and every building has a regular fire drill. All our fire safety systems are subject to routine servicing and maintenance in accordance with British Standards and this is undertaken only by national contractors employing certified and qualified operatives.
A key component of iQ’s fire safety systems is compartmentation which ensures fires cannot spread rapidly. Our compartmentation strategy incorporates 30-minute fire rated doors throughout every flat and studio which are each fitted with self-closers to ensure that compartments are maintained. These doors are formally checked annually but also routinely by our own onsite maintenance technicians. In addition, our site-based employees are trained to be proactive in matters of fire safety and this includes inductions for residents, regular building inspections, weekly bell tests and the aforementioned fire drills.
Lastly, the vast majority of our sites have fire alarms connected to local fire stations, via Red Care.
If you have any questions about fire safety at iQ, please contact [email protected]