High-rise sprinkler retrofit, Hackney | Wates




With local authorities and housing associations facing urgency in post-Grenfell compliance investment, leading repairs and maintenance provider Wates Living Space shares its best practice in retrofitting high-rise residential sprinkler systems.

Wates Living Space completed its first full sprinkler installation ahead of schedule, a £0.5m zonal system project for 114 individual properties at a 19-storey tower at Queensbridge Road on behalf of Hackney Council.

Identifying the Need

The sprinkler installation at Queensbridge Road was commissioned by Hackney Council following consultation with the London Fire Brigade to enhance the fire safety measures already in place.

A first for both Wates Living Space and Hackney Council, the full sprinkler installation included a comprehensive programme of core drilling, electrical works, carpentry, painting, pendock boxing, pipe fitting, pressure testing and fire stopping – all in a fully occupied building.

Taking Care of Residents

With a brief to install sprinklers in 114 individual properties, the Wates Living Space teams priority was to ensure minimal disruption to residents, a high number of which are elderly and vulnerable.

The project required prompt delivery and integral to this was ensuring that residents were respected, communicated with and supported at all stages. The Wates Living Space team required access to each individual property and managing this without disrupting residents was one of the projects greatest successes.

Resident Liaison Officers were allocated to the project and worked with residents to ensure they were kept informed and safe at all times. The team carried out ongoing consultation, daily visits and held demonstrations for the new system to give residents assurance of quality and safety.

The team established two respite areas as part of its work compound offering TV and refreshment, providing a comfortable place for residents while work was being carried out in their homes.

Delivering Impeccable Fire Safety

Throughout the project, Wates Living Space engaged with London Fire Brigade to ensure full understanding and compliance with their guidance, including consultation on specialist supply chain and a full inspection and testing plan.

David Morgan, Managing Director of Wates Property Services, added:

The Wates Living Space teams work at Queensbridge Road is an exemplary project in fire safety and compliance. This was a vital project with tight timescales and it certainly wasnt without challenge. Restricted access and working hours, adaptation of programme and a complicated sequencing of works made this a unique project at every stage and Im very proud of the impeccable standards achieved by the team.

While the government is consulting on the height threshold for sprinkler systems in new residential buildings, this does not account for retrofitting systems in existing buildings. Nevertheless, many local authorities and housing associations are leading the charge and investing in retrofitting sprinkler systems. The onus is on the industry to make this process as efficient and cost effective as possible and I am proud to say that this is just what the Living Space team achieved on behalf of Hackney Council.

Simon Bond, Project Manager, Wates Living Space, added:

Given the fact that this was the first sprinkler install of its kind that we have undertaken on the Hackney Framework combined with the complex working arrangements and tight time constraints I could not be prouder of all of the Wates Living Space staff that were involved in this project; the team went above and beyond daily to ensure that this project was delivered to the high standards that our client and Wates expect.

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