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Fire safety audit shows increased Southwark tower block risk

In July 2019 we audited the fire risk assessments (FRA's) for all Southwark Council owned high rise blocks. Our research at the time showed that more than 67% of the 174 blocks had an overall fire safety rating beyond 'tolerable'.

More than 18 months later, we revisit the fire risk assessments to see what, if anything, has changed.

Southwark Council publish the fire risk assessments for all their high rise blocks on their website. We looked at each assessment and plotted it on a spreadsheet to compare to our previous audit. Updated fire risk assessments had been published for 165 blocks.

Of those 165 blocks, this is what we found:

100 blocks (more than 60%) showed no change or improvement to their overall rating, compared to their previous FRA.

Only 20 of these block were of 'Tolerable' rating in the first place, the remaining 80 were considered to be of Low/High Moderate or Substantial risk.

In 2019 Southwark Council commented on our previous audit, saying: 'Classifications of Low Moderate or High Moderate do not mean that there are immediate risks to safety but are an indicator that work is required. This level of risk is considered to be acceptable in the short term.'

44 blocks (over 26%) showed a worse rating compared to their previous FRA

21 blocks (over 12%) showed an improved rating compared to their previous FRA

In conclusion

41 blocks (25%) had either remained at a 'tolerable' risk level, or seen an improvement to their rating compared to their last FRA.

124 blocks (75%) were considered to be at moderate or substantial risk, or had received a worse overall rating than their previous FRA.

View the full data here

Updated Southwark FRA Audit April 2021
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