Lord Greenhalgh - Minister of State for Building Safety and Fire - has called for innovation aiming to tackle the UK’s cladding crisis to be encouraged - citing a unique external fire detection system as an example of what can be achieved.
During a statement at the House of Lords on January 11th, Lord Greenhalgh stressed the need for innovative solutions such as the Intelliclad system, which has recently been installed in four buildings, boosting safety and eliminating the need for Waking Watch patrols - with funding provided through the Waking Watch Relief Scheme.
Intelliclad’s system involves alarms being installed within the external façade of high-risk buildings in order to detect the early symptoms of a fire.
New research suggests that the installation of detectors into the external façade is a much-needed intervention. Statistics indicate that, since 2010, 60% of all high-rise façade fires across the globe have started externally.
The system has also been supported by renowned fire safety expert Frances Maria Peacock, whose reports and technical papers have been submitted to the Grenfell Tower Inquiry.
Speaking in the House of Lords on Wednesday 12th January, Lord Greenhalgh said: “We need a call for innovation.
“If we are to have more buildings made safe not by costly remediation where people profit—let us be clear, they profit from remediation—let us make mitigation a possibility in more homes.
“That is why I am delighted that we are beginning to fund some innovative ideas, some of which will work and some of which will not.
“I mention the Intelliclad system that has been funded by the Waking Watch Relief scheme. I shall not go into exactly how that works, but it is a form of innovation that may make mitigation an option more often than remediation.”
Lord Greenhalgh also invited his peers to join him in visiting two sites where Intelliclad has been installed, in Croydon and Southampton.
Darron Brough and business partner Mohammed Zulfiquar launched Intelliclad in late 2020 after three years of development.
Darron said: “There has been much seemingly positive progress for residents affected by the cladding crisis lately, but we all know there is so much more to be done.
“Promises and pledges of support may take some time to materialise, but we are ready to play our part in boosting building safety right now.
“We’re thankful for the recognition from Lord Greenhalgh and support his call for innovation from all corners to help alleviate the stress and strain residents are facing and allow them to move on with their lives.
“The Intelliclad system, tested at the FPA, is battery powered and utilises smart technology to alert residents when heat and smoke are detected within cavities on vulnerable buildings.
“The cost of installation can be around 40% of an annual waking watch budget which makes it not only the safer, but more cost-effective solution.“