As a nation we treasure our historic buildings. Every weekend up and down the country you will find thousands of people, from all walks of life and from all corners of the globe, going out for the day just to be in the company of these old and beautiful structures. They are ingrained in our culture, and we seek to preserve them as thoroughly as possible.
It is estimated by Historic England that in 2018 the heritage sector added around £29bn to the economy. Taking care of our buildings doesn’t just make sense from a cultural point of view, it makes sense from a financial one as well.
The Windsor Wake-Up Call
The greatest risk to this integral part of our cultural heritage, and economy, is fire. The Windsor Castle fire in 1992 was a wake up call for the heritage world – as the fire ripped through one of the most famous buildings in the country we all realised how vulnerable these buildings really are. The Bailey report was quickly commissioned to assess whether there were sufficient practices in place to prevent fire. Initially just looking at the royal palaces, the report recommended it’s findings be considered for all historic buildings. The main points taken from the report were:
- Staff needed better training in fire risk management and actions to be taken in the event of a fire
- A requirement for fire separation or compartmentation to quell the spread of a fire
- That fire warning systems were needed to help detect a fire at the earliest possible stage
These long-overdue measures were quickly put into practice, but the risk will never completely go away. In 2019 alone 47 Grade 2 listed buildings required assistance from a Fire and Rescue Service in England. The causes for these fires were varied, from chimney fires and electrical faults to deliberate attacks and from contractors that have been working onsite.
What is your obligation to the property?
For the people that own or run a grade 2 listed property, there is a difficult balancing act. Of course, you will want to protect the building as well as you possibly can, but at the same time you will want to preserve the character of the building. While fire doors and partitions are crucial for preventing the spread of fire, they don’t exactly blend into a historic setting.
The battle between fire and safety regulators and conservationists will rage on forever, I’m sure. Fortunately, as we learn more and more about the nature of fires, it is becoming possible to tailor fire safety solutions to suit the needs of individual buildings, rather than fulfilling a one-size-fits-all solution that would almost certainly go against the aesthetic of the property.
A thorough risk assessment will help you determine exactly what areas need work, and what your obligations are. The developments in fire detection mean that the options are much greater than they would have been as little as 10 years ago. It may be that your building could benefit from an effective, but relatively subtle, fire suppression system that not only detects fire, but also takes measures to tackle it.
Fire Restoration Solutions
If you have been unfortunate enough to experience a fire at your property, Ideal Response can help. More than likely the building will have experienced smoke and soot damage, and quite possibly water damage from the extinction process. You will need a team of experts to come in to get the property back to its best.
No matter the severity or cause of the fire, our team will have the knowledge, backed up with their industry-leading equipment, to remove all traces of the fire. With dry HEPA filter vacuuming, brushing, air blasting, dry soot sponging, wet vacuum extraction, pressure washing, steam cleaning and thermal fogging – our team have everything they could possibly need.
We are also very aware of the horrible smell that smoke leaves, and we have the technology to remove it. By applying our unique BIOSWEEP® system we can fully eradicate any lurking micro-organisms, the presence of which results in stubborn odours.
We can be onsite with you as soon as two hours after receiving your call because we know how important it is to act quickly in the aftermath of a fire, and we want to cause as little disruption as possible following such a traumatic event.
Get in touch with us today to find out how we can help you.