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BLOG: Fire Safety at Network Homes – the necessity of sprinkler tests

14 September 2021

By Ian Asante, Fire Safety Administrator

We take fire safety in residents’ homes seriously and having a working fire sprinkler system in place is an important safety measure. Sprinkler systems are designed to supress a fire so it’s important that they’re maintained and fully operational at all times. Network Homes is responsible for ensuring the sprinkler systems within the homes and buildings we manage are inspected and tested annually. With over 1,200 homes with sprinklers fitted, this is a huge task.

Over the last 12 months, we’ve been working hard to increase our performance for the number of annual sprinkler tests we complete on time to ensure we are compliant, even throughout the Covid -19 pandemic. Compliance has increased from 43% to 88% (as of July 2021). To reach this level of compliance, I’ve built a strong relationship with our contractors and spoken with residents to ensure they know we have their best interests in mind. It does require some compromise between contractors and residents to maintain these relationships and make sure both parties are happy but it’s worth it.

In the tenancy agreements and leases, residents who live in the houses we manage are required to provide access to Network Homes and our contractors so sprinkler tests can be completed. In April 2021, Network introduced a new legal process where we can apply to the Court to seek an injunction against residents who are in breach of their tenancy or lease. This breach is referring to residents who might not provide access for sprinkler tests to be completed in their home. However, taking legal action will always be a last resort and before taking this step, Network will make every effort to make contact with residents to complete the necessary tests.

In an effort to avoid the above, I actively attempt to call, email and write to residents with expired sprinkler tests. When in contact with residents, I discuss the purpose of the sprinklers, the need for the visit and what they should expect from the test. If you’re contacted about an expired sprinkler test in your home, it would be great to have your full cooperation to ensure your homes are safe.

This process has proved very successful and since April 2021 we have managed to complete an additional 70+ tests and inspections without the need for an injunction. This has saved Network a huge amount of money in legal costs and has more importantly ensured that residents who live in the homes we manage are safe.

Top tips to improve Fire Safety in your home

Gas, Electrical and Fire Safety Week 13 – 17 September 2021

Keep an eye out for more information and blogs about gas, electrical and fire safety, which we'll publish on our website each day this week.

Also come along to our virtual 'Meet the Teams’ event on 15 September 2021 at 6pm to 7pm where you'll get to meet the Gas, electrical and Fire Safety teams and find out more about how to keep your family safe in your home.

If you want to find out more about Gas Safety Week, take a look at the Gas Safety Week 2021 national campaign.

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