Fire Safety Compliance – Collaborating to build safer homes

Chris Graham from The PML Group brought together a diverse group of representatives from social landlords, consultants and contractors to specialist membership organisations, lawyers, and procurement framework experts to discuss how as a sector we can tackle current fire safety issues.

Focusing on fire safety compliance within social housing, the FSCF Thought Leadership Group met to share their extensive insights, knowledge and experience, with the aim of identifying areas where we can significantly improve fire safety compliance practice within this sector.

CHIC was invited to be a part of this group and was delighted to participate. Consortia have a unique perspective on fire safety compliance. Being the intermediary between contractors and registered providers, CHIC is able to build strong relationships between both parties and gain valuable insight. Head of Member Services Stephen Sharman contributed to the forum and has overseen several low and high value compliance programmes during his 5+ years at CHIC.

The initial discussion rooms comprised six monthly themed sessions, with the fire safety compliance best practice guide being the outcome. It is grounded in lessons learned from a wide range of social housing projects, building types, resident tenures and professional disciplines. As such, it provides a 360-degree view of issues and a whole team approach to addressing them.

Many of the key issues raised were due to poor management of data relating to fire safety, with a lack of any systematic approach to storing and incorporating it.

The guide sets out a series of 20 recommendations for the social housing sector, including more effective information sharing between landlords and Board representatives, digital recorded images of completed works and always adopting a risk-based approach.

Stephen Sharman said “My continual involvement in the thought leadership group is very insightful and valuable. Taking a proactive approach when tackling such issues is key. Like many other sectors, social housing has historically been required to react fast as new challenges are often sprung upon us. Taking a more strategic approach to asset management prevents risk further down the line, which often starts with effective procurement.

We’re now embarking on a new piece of work as a group, which will be focussed on resident engagement, and I look forward to publishing our next recommendation paper, to make a real change to how we build and maintain homes.”

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