This page contains the latest information about fire safety in the high-rise homes at College Bank – last updated June 2021.
In 2020 we conducted detailed Fire Risk Assessments (FRAs) and investigations within College Bank.
Our investigations have found that there was an issue with the external panels that might increase the potential for a fire to spread to other homes on the same level, rather than being contained as it should be. This is known as a problem with ‘compartmentation’ and appears to have been caused by inappropriate work carried out on the buildings in 1998, before the formation of RBH.
The results of our investigations indicated that this issue affects homes in all College Bank blocks on all floors and we contacted all residents to make them aware of the initial steps we have taken to keep them safe as we looked to address the fire safety issues in the buildings on a more permanent basis.
From September 2020 there has been a 24 hour ‘Waking Watch’ service in place across all seven blocks. This means we have employed a trained company to monitor buildings around the clock who can quickly alert residents, emergency services and RBH in the event of a fire. The waking watch continues to be the primary response to a situation involving smoke or fire within all blocks of College Bank.
We have carried out further investigations and commenced work on essential fire safety measures across all blocks which includes:
- Temporary and permanent fire stopping to all communal areas and areas between individual flats from February 2021.
- Communal and flat entrance fire door replacements which started in Feb 2021 and will continue across the blocks until March 2024.
- New emergency exit (wayfinder) signage from March 2021.
- Additional (pro-active) training and scenario testing with GMFRS in December 2020 and March 2021.
- Collecting and recording additional information about the structure of the blocks in January 2021.
- Carrying out Personal Emergency Evacuation Plans (PEEPs) from August 2020.
- The installation of a bespoke fire alarm system and emergency evacuation alarm in February 2021 and will continue across the blocks until September 2021.
These are key in meeting both current requirements for fire safety in high rise residential buildings, and future requirements we expect in the proposed changes to building safety legislation. We have continued to work closely with Greater Manchester Fire Service to ensure the measures we are putting in place meet with what they would expect.
You should all by now be familiar with our Stay Safe policy, which is published on the main RBH website. While the majority of this advice remains relevant and unchanged, we have updated our advice for anyone encountering a fire in a neighbouring home:
- If there is a fire in another part of the building on the same floor as you, get out and call the fire service by dialling If you can, you should alert the neighbours on your floor on your way out, and exit the building using the stairs. You must not use the lift. Once outside, you should assemble at the designated meeting point for your block.
- If there is a fire on another floor within your building, it will normally be safest for you to stay in your flat, but you may be advised to leave if the fire is on a floor immediately below or above you.
- If you feel unsafe or your flat is affected by heat or smoke, then get out and call the fire service by dialling 999. If a member of the fire service or the Waking Watch ever tells you to leave the building, you should do so immediately.
We know that while most people would be able to safely leave the building using the stairs, others may need help with this. If anyone in your home has mobility or health issues, and would need extra help to leave the building in an emergency and has not already been contacted, please contact us as soon as possible.
We understand that this news may be very unsettling for residents. If you have any questions or concerns about fire safety in your building, please contact a member of our team by visiting our website, or by signing into the MyRBH portal. You can also call us on Freephone 0800 027 7769.
- Download our College Bank Fire Safety frequently asked questions document for more information.
Click the above image to download a copy of our Fire Safety information leaflet.