Your safety

Keeping safe

We want to be as certain as possible that your home and its surroundings are safe for you and your family.  There are certain aspects of safety that we are responsible for, but there is also a lot you can do yourself to improve the safety and security of your home. 

Click below to read FAQs on safety in your home.

For further information on Fire Safety see Northampton Borough Council's published FAQs on safety and cladding.

Fire safety

We take fire safety in the home very seriously.  We risk assess all the block of flats with communal means of escape and work closely with the local Fire & Rescue Service to ensure our compliance with the current fire legislation.  All our fire risk assessments are recorded on a database, alongside maintenance and service records to provide a clear record on safety within our buildings. We also continue to invest in fire safety measures to improve protection against the likelihood and effects of fire.

All our properties are fitted smoke detectors to act as an initial protection measure for our residents; however, fire safety in the home is a partnership between us and residents.  We carry out annual checks of smoke detectors but it is recommended that these detectors are tested weekly by residents to ensure they work in the event of a fire. Disconnection or removal of smoke detectors places not just a household at risk but all your neighbours and the emergency services too.

In addition to checking smoke detectors, the following precautions are recommended:

  • Make a family escape plan in case of a fire and practice it
  • Do not overload electrical sockets
  • Dispose of cigarettes in an ashtray
  • Keep matches and lighters away from children
  • Don’t leave cooking or candles unattended
  • Shut all doors and windows when leaving the home

Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service offer a free fire safety check - you can book this online or call 0800 38 999 50 during office hours.

For further information on Fire Safety see Northampton Borough Council's published FAQs on safety and cladding.

 

Gas safety

By law, we need to check the gas appliances in your home each year to make sure they are safe for you to use. To help us to do this, you must let the engineer in so they can carry out the check. If you’re a leaseholder you are responsible for the gas appliances in your home. Find out how you can get them checked here.

What is a gas check?

An engineer will check and service all gas appliances that the council owns, such as gas fires and boilers. They will also check the gas supply pipes. The check and service only takes about 40 minutes, and is carried out by a gas safety registered engineer.

Do I need to be at home?

You must be there to let the gas safety engineer in. The engineer will write to let you know when they plan to visit. If it’s not convenient you must arrange another appointment as soon as possible. If you keep missing appointments we may have to take legal action in the courts.

What happens if an appliance is faulty?

The engineer will fix the problem straight away if they can. If they can’t, they will disconnect the gas supply to that appliance. We will fix the problem as soon as possible. Never reconnect an appliance that has been disconnected.

What to do if you smell gas

  • Report it immediately to the National Gas Emergency Service on 0800 111 999
  • Don’t use electrical switches – they might cause a spark
  • Shut off the gas supply at the meter
  • Put out all naked flames
  • Open all doors and windows
  • Leave your home
Asbestos safety

Advice for Tenants

If you suspect asbestos materials have been damaged please contact Northampton Partnership Homes on 0300 330 7003

Advice for Leaseholders

Specialist accredited analysts can test materials and confirm or refute that asbestos is present. To find an analyst near you contact:

UKAS 21-47 High Street, Feltham, Middlesex, TW13 4UN Tel: 0208 917 8400
Email: info@ukas.com

If you want any asbestos items removed or repaired contact the Asbestos Removal Contractors Association (ARCA), they can advise you of specialist companies near you. ARCA can be contacted at:

ARCA Unit 1 Stretton Business Park 2 Brunel Drive, Stretton Burton upon Trent, Staffordshire DE13 0BY
Tel: 01283 566 467
Email: info@arca.org.uk

Why take home insurance?

Many tenants believe that their furniture, personal belongings and decorations are automatically insured against theft or damage from fire and burst pipes.  Unfortunately this is not the case so we strongly advise all NPH tenants to take out household contents insurance in some form. 

We can help our tenants and residents obtain home contents insurance easily and at a price that is affordable.  While many people often hope that nothing will happen to their belongings, sometimes things can go wrong unexpectedly.

With a special scheme called Crystal arranged in conjunction with Thistle Tenant Risks, NPH tenants and leaseholders can protect their belongings and gain peace of mind knowing if the unexpected happens they have cover.

If you would like more information on this scheme, please call us on 0300 300 7003 and ask to speak to the rent income team.

You can also contact Crystal through 0345 450 7288 or arrange a call back, clicking on the link above.

Fire safety in blocks

Q            Do you have any buildings over 18 metres that have been fitted with ACM Cladding panels?

A            Northampton Borough Council (NBC) does not own any properties that have been fitted with ACM cladding. NBC has one property out of the 667 blocks in its portfolio where cladding is fitted. This block is called St Katherines Court and the property contains 10 residential floors and 39 flats.  The cladding used on this property is a layered composite material and is not the same as the cladding panels used on Grenfell Tower

 

Q          Are any buildings over 18 metres fitted with cladding containing 'Reynobond PE'?

A          NBC does not own any blocks where Reynobond PE has been fitted 

 

Q         Are any buildings over 18 metres fitted with cladding containing 'Reynobond PUR'?

A          NBC does not own any blocks where Reynobond PUR has been fitted 

 

Q         Are there currently any sprinklers installed in any blocks owned or operated by NBC?

A         There are currently no sprinkler systems installed in NBC residential properties.

The instillation of a sprinkler system is included in the scope of the regeneration works on St Katherines Court. These regeneration works commenced in November 2016 and are due for completion in spring 2018.

As landlords we are guided by Building Regulations and advice from government departments on what facilities are required to be fitted within our blocks.

Should the position on the installation of residential sprinklers in existing buildings be reviewed and changed by the Government Building Control bodies, we will act on that advice to ensure that we are in line with any guidance.

 

Q         Does Northampton Borough Council have high rise blocks?

A          Yes we do, we classify high rise blocks as those of 18 metres and above – these are our immediate focus.  We have a register of all these properties and are undertaking inspections of all them. Presently there are 11 such properties in the stock

 

 

Q         How many residential blocks do NBC have in their housing stock?

A          NBC currently owns 667 residential blocks and has a full and valid Fire Risk Assessment for all these properties. Of these, 11 are classed as high rise as they are 18 metres high or  6 storeys or above.

 

 

Q         How many residential tower blocks are cladded with Aluminium Composite Material (also known as Aluminium Composite Panels)?

A          NBC does not have any blocks cladded with ACM or ACP material.

 

 

Q         Is the block where cladding is installed used to house a specific demographic i.e. elderly, special needs, etc? Please identify the demographic.

A         St Katherines Court is a general needs block, there is no specific demographic assigned to the block.

 

Q        Is there a any correspondence sent or received in the last seven years between the council and your local fire brigade and your local coroner about cladding on any buildings in your area?

A         NPH have no records of any such correspondence being received from either body. The Cladding on St Katherines court was installed as part of the 2016/17 programme

 

Q       Do you have a copy of any correspondence with the government about tower block cladding sent or received since 13 June 2017?

A       All correspondence sent to local authorities from the government following the Grenfell Tower fire is available from Central Government websites as publically assessable documents

 

 

Q       Can you provide a link to any planning applications involving cladding in the last seven years and a copy of any fire safety advice about cladding

A        All planning applications are available on NBC's website - this information is publically available and searchable

 

 

Q        Do you have a list of buildings that are considered tall?

A         NBC owns 11 properties that are above 18 metres; these properties are managed through Northampton Partnership Homes. The list below shows the properties, the number of storeys and the year that they were built:

 

St Katherines Court ,       (12 storeys)       1957

St Stephens House,         (7 storeys)         1974

St Johns House,                 (7 storeys)      1974

Abbey House                     (6 storeys)       1971

Melbourne House           (6 storeys)           1971

Devonshire House           (6 storeys)          1971

Berkley House                    (6 storeys)       1961

St Marks House                  (6 storeys)       1975

St Barnabas House           (6 storeys)         1974

Rillwood Court                   (6 storeys)         1975

Alliston Gardens               (6 storeys)          1970

 

 

Q         When is the last time a fire risk assessment was carried out on building with more than 6 floors?

A          Annual risk assessments are completed for all properties above 18 metres.

 

 

Q        Where fire tests have been carried out since the Grenfell Tower fire, how many residential tower blocks have been found to be cladded with materials found to be combustible?

A.        The cladding used on St Katherines Court is of a different composition and manufacturer from the product installed on Grenfell Tower. As such NBC was not required to send a sample for testing under the government scheme.  The materials used in the cladding panels fitted to St Katherines Court are zero fire rated.

 

Q         Why is there no communal fire alarm in my block?

A          As landlords, we are committed to complying with the advice and guidance provided by the fire authorities in relation to the facilities we have in our buildings.

 

It has been consistent and clear advice from fire authorities that there should not be fire alarms fitted in the communal areas of purpose built blocks of flats.

This is not an issue of cost or cost saving; it is to ensure we comply with the best practice guidance provided to us.  Where a block of flats or a residential building has a ‘stay put’ policy, having a communal fire alarm system fitted causes confusion and is against the rationale of the ‘stay put’ procedure. 

Should the position on the installation of fire alarms be reviewed and changed by the Government Building Control bodies or the fire services, we will of course move with the advice to ensure we are in line with the best practice and guidance.

 

Q      Can you publish a copy of all the Fire Risk Assessments completed on all your blocks?

A       NBC has 667 blocks that require Fire Risk Assessments to be carried out. These documents are available on individual basis where requested. Aas they are live and evolving documents any attempt to publish them would invalidate the documents as they would be quickly out of date.