Wates Living Space is one of the largest providers of responsive repair and maintenance works in Europe. Since 2016, they have taken care of over 31,000 homes across Birmingham, on behalf of the Birmingham City Council.


Wates Living Space contacted Chute Fire Certification UK when it was clear that there was a problem with the refuse chutes in three 15-storey residential blocks. The chutes were regularly blocking with rubbish bags, creating a fire hazard and nuisance for both residents and the building maintenance team.


The project started with an initial investigation to find out what was causing the blockages. It was quickly apparent that the circumference of the chutes were too small to accommodate the amount and type of refuse generated today. When the buildings were originally constructed in the 1960s and 1970s, the chutes were designed according to the needs of the day. However, deterioration of the concrete casing meant that bulky items and bags were getting stuck on the cracked concrete, causing the blockages. These were difficult and time-consuming for the site teams to manage, as well as posing a significant fire risk. Chute Fire Certification UK provided a bespoke solution to account for the current and future needs of families, fire safety requirements and the design of the building.


Chute Fire Certification UK’s solution included the demolition of the existing 370mm diameter chutes, to be replaced with a bespoke system, designed and manufactured in the UK. The new design replaced the concrete casing with a circular stainless-steel chute that is 600mm diameter and 2mm thick, conforming to British Standards.  This is paired with hopper doors that are fire resistant, vandal proof, flush fitting, self-closing, and powder coated with a smart and contemporary Ripple Grey colour, certified to a 2.5-hour fire rating (BS476: Part 22: 1987). Each hopper door is sealed with the industry-leading 4-hour rated Quelfire Intumescent Seal System. 

And finally, each building was fitted with the Chute Fire Safe Protection at the base of the chute. This two-in-one system provides the ultimate combination in passive fire safety; the first is an automatic interlocking blade that will close when temperatures reach 72 degrees. The second element is a separate chute closure door which is fitted at head heights to ensure easy access by staff.


Andrew Brown, Operations Manager from Wates Living Space is pleased with outcome of the project. He summarises “The project was planned to take 6 months, and it was completed on time and within budget with minimal disruption to the residents. Avene and her team are experts in chutes and very professional. We have worked with them for years because they provide high quality solutions and meet the high standards that we expect here at Wates Living Spaces.”