Matt Hodges-Long 06/11/2020
What is the Building Safety Crisis?
The Grenfell Tower fire revealed shortfalls in building and fire safety for high rise buildings. This raised questions of what was deemed safe, not only for residents living in those buildings but for insurers and lenders. As a result, many leaseholders in high risk buildings are now being faced with huge costs for waking watches and increased insurance premiums. These costs will continue until their buildings are deemed safe once again.
The only logical way to tackle the building safety crisis is to go back to basics: identify the risks; manage those risks; provide evidence of your risk controls; and keep all key parties informed.
Property Risk Assessment
Conduct a thorough risk assessment for each block. A Type 4 (intrusive) Fire Risk Assessment should be carried out as a minimum. This will provide a baseline for the block. Also, all high risk building owners must now carry out a detailed review of their external wall system. This will produce an EWS1 certificate for the external wall system.
As well as the actual building, you also need to consider: are any residents are vulnerable, adjacent properties, location, maintenance and other relevant factors in the risk assessment.
Property Risk Management
Ensure that risks are being properly managed and that your strategy for risk control is kept under regular review. The responsible person must ensure that auditable record-keeping of all actions is kept at all times.
Again, details of your risk management programme must be shared with residents. This is an essential part of your resident engagement strategy. This will help your residents to clearly understand their role in managing building safety.
Both the risk assessment and risk management will form key parts of your Building Safety Case. The new Building Safety Regulator will require all high risk buildings to have a Building Safety Case in the next few years.
As with any other crisis, building trust and keeping everyone informed will pay dividends. In the case of property risk management and building safety, block managers must ensure that all decisions are fair and communications are factual.
It doesn’t matter if the news is good or bad, open communication between all key stakeholders is key to good risk management.
Getting help with Property Risk Management
Here at TrackMyRisks, we have years of experience in creating risk management strategies for a wide range of regulated sectors.
The first step is to get a solid framework in place. Our Property Compliance Software is Building Safety Regulator ready and can help power your Resident Engagement Strategy.