Skip to main content

POST GRENFELL: A safe and cost-effective alternative to a waking watch

Clear Safety icon


Tuesday, 21st March 20233 min read

Clear – the safety and compliance specialist – is working to help landlords whose properties do not have a fire alarm system, but which feature potentially unsafe cladding, to address the crippling costs associated with paying for the waking watch required until the hazardous material is removed from the building.

Employing personnel to stay on site overnight and man fire exits within the building to ensure the safe egress and speedy evacuation of the premises, represents a major expenditure. More importantly, such initiatives are vulnerable to the scope for human error and rely on identifying and employing competent individuals.

To address this problem, Clear specified a temporary (wireless) basic L5 (localised fire protection) fire alarm system manufactured by Hi Fire that features heat/smoke detectors at all openings to any clad wall (i.e., windows and balcony doors) which can be installed in any building. If a fire breaks out, the alarm sounds and alerts the residents, effectively dispensing with the need for a waking watch service. Installing the temporary fire alarm system represents the rough equivalent of about one to two months of funding a waking watch. So, the new solution not only delivers a safer environment for the residents with less reliance on human intervention, but also represents a considerable financial saving, given that it will generally be more than three months before any cladding works can even commence.

Clear has already rolled out this system on behalf of one of its housing association clients. Although the concept of adopting a temporary system is not new, many landlords are concerned that they don’t have the requisite expertise or access to the appropriate resources to ensure a seamless, speedy installation and are fearful of being exposed to further risk. Clear oversaw the whole process from specifying the alarm system, including a detailed spec for contractors to price; performing a quality assessment of contractors to procure the best workforce (both in terms of quality of workmanship and price); issuing contract documents and managing the installation including a 10% post inspection regime and 100% provision of proof of works via Clear’s robust reporting system. The latter is vital as without evidence of commissioning and placement of fire detectors, a waking watch cannot be decommissioned. Finally, only when the team was satisfied with the evidence that all works had been completed to a satisfactory standard, Clear instructed final payment and commissioning of the alarm system.

Enhanced safety and proven adherence to the required compliance protocols, whilst still successfully reducing costs resulted in a win-win for both the residents and the landlord.

First published: March 2021


Other articles you might enjoy