Following updated government guidance on building safety we have a building safety programme in place which is systematically checking all the buildings we own to ensure that they comply with the updated safety advice. More information is available here.
What steps have we taken at Empire Square?
1. External facade review completed
An external façade review was commissioned by FirstPort who are the external managing agents for your building. FirstPort engaged TriFire Engineers to undertake this review. EWS1 form subsequently issued, with the building being given a B2 rating.
This means that remedial works to the external render system are required before the building can be re-certified. What this means in practice is that although there is an EWS1 form for the building, it may not satisfy lenders or mortgage companies because of the B2 rating.
2. Received confirmation of eligibility for funding
We have been informed that the work required is eligible for government funding from the Building Safety Fund and First Port has confirmed that is has been invited to submit a full application for funding. However, the application process is ongoing, and we are not guaranteed to be awarded funding.
3. Submitted further information
We have been working with FirstPort, our managing agents, to submit further information about Empire Square for consideration by GLA officials so that they can assess whether the building should be awarded financial support through the Fund.
What are you doing to ensure residents are safe?
While we carry out the more detailed investigations into the remedial work and get on with the work itself, we have taken advice from the fire brigade and our fire safety engineers to make sure that your homes have the right additional precautions in place to ensure your safety in the event of a need to evacuate the buildings.
We understand that FirstPort is in the process of arranging the necessary remedial work, and while that this will take some time to complete, FirstPort has assured us the risk is manageable, and as such, no additional mitigation, such as a waking watch, or new fire alarms, are required at this time.
More information on fire safety is included on our website here.
What happens next?
First Port will now work with a dedicated caseworker from the GLA to work through this application process. Southern Housing Group will of course continue to keep you updated as we move through this process.
The GLA will be now be checking in more detail that leaseholders would normally have to pay for this type of work under the conditions of their lease as any funding has to be for the full benefit of leaseholders. Once established that this is the case, the GLA should then offer some up-front funding to enable us to invite tenders for the remediation work. We will also need to check the state aid eligibility of all leaseholders. We will contact you in due course regarding this.
We will be investigating the remedial works required and producing a detailed programme of work for you to see.
We will be communicating regularly about progress - please make sure we have your most up to date email address so that we can send you updates.
We will keep this microsite updated with information as this becomes available.