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Inside Housing – News – Landlords braced for block management overhaul after Grenfell Inquiry changes

Lord Gary Porter, building safety spokesperson for the Local Government Association and leader of South Holland District Council: A lot of it is naive. The need to have personal evacuation plans doesn’t take account of who is visiting the building. Stuff like that just seems naive in the extreme. We should have worked out what the safety lessons are first before focusing on what the fire brigade did.

“We get fire doors being fitted and they come with a certificate saying they are fire doors. The fact that a GRP door fails is not going to [be] picked up by an inspection of the door closer, is it?”

Tara Agarwal, director of technical compliance and quality at Peabody: “As early adopters working with government and others, we support the principles behind building and operating the safest homes for our residents. Generally we support any systems and changes that would aid the fire service to take control of a building in an emergency.

“We have a significant number of taller buildings. Our work in reviewing these means that we better understand the materials used in the build-up of external walls and their installation. And on our new schemes, we have improved digital records being prepared for handover which could be shared with third parties, such as the fire service, should this be required.”

Eamon McGoldrick, managing director of the National Federation of ALMOs and chair of Barnet Group: “Having been a practitioner myself, it does surprise me that the emergency plan had not been updated for 15 years and also that KCTMO [Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation] was not a required respondent.

“I’m going to be asking my members, ‘what is your relationship with your local authority on emergency planning and are you listed as a respondent in an emergency? Also what are you expected to do to support partners during an emergency?’

“There is already hundreds of millions of pounds going into fire safety work and quite rightly so. It’s all going to get taken out of business plans – impacting on new build and planned maintenance. When resources are tight you end up pushing back things like roof and kitchen replacements and what happens is things start falling apart and then you start paying a lot for responsive repairs. I can see us going back to stretching out asset management plans or revising new build ambitions.”

Nicole Sharp, executive director of property services at Sovereign: “While we do not manage many taller buildings, we’ve not waited for this report or for legislation and have already taken significant action on many of the issues raised.

“We’ve expanded our in-house team and expertise so we can carry out broader, more in-depth assessments, review existing plans alongside the fire service, invest in fire safety improvements, and increase access to local fire safety information for residents and partners.

“However, building safety remains a complex and evolving issue and so we’re committed to continuing to invest and to develop our expertise to stay ahead of the curve.”

Jane Porter, chief operating officer at Optivo: “We’re continually reviewing our approach in line with the recommendations and actions from the Hackitt Review and the Grenfell Inquiry report.
“We’re working closely with [the] MHCLG [Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government] and our residents continue to shape our approach to fire safety.
“Earlier this year, we supported our resident scrutiny panel to carry out their own investigation into our fire safety communications.
“As a direct result of this resident-led investigation, a number of fire safety actions and improvements have already been made.”

 

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