We’ve developed our building safety programme to make sure that the buildings and homes we own and manage are safe for our residents. We currently have fire risk assessments in place for all our buildings but we will be rolling out more intensive building safety inspections to all our blocks regardless of their height. The outcomes from this programme are either an EWS1 Form for buildings over 18m or an expert report which lenders can rely on to demonstrate compliance with the government’s guidance.
We have over 1400 buildings so we have to prioritise the order in which we carry out the work. We are looking at a range of factors including (in no particular order) what we know about any materials used in external wall systems, height, number of vulnerable residents and what the existing evacuation policy and fire safety measures are.
Phase 1 - prioritising our tall buildings over 18m
This first phase is underway – this is looking at our 44 buildings over 18m tall and completing EWS1 forms for each of them. This phase will continue until all our tall buildings are complete.
Now that that Phase 1 is nearing completion we have been risk assessing all the other 1500 buildings we own, to establish the priority list for the next set of buildings we should focus on in the programme. This risk assessment has highlighted nearly 230 buildings which we will be prioritising for this next phase of our building safety programme (Phase 2).
One small caveat here is that we do have about 100 buildings with incomplete data which we are sourcing. This could lead to a realignment of priorities for some buildings currently falling in Phase 2.
How have we chosen these buildings?
We have identified which buildings should fall into Phase 2 of the programme by carrying out a risk analysis based on what we already know about our buildings and our residents living in them. This is called a desktop review and we have look at a number of factors to determine the priority of a particular building to fall into this phase. These factors include its height, known construction type and materials, the number of vulnerable residents living there and what the existing evacuation policy and fire safety measures are.
What stage are we at in Phase two?
We are currently working on procuring the contractor to carry out the intrusive survey work for this phase once we have finalised the list of buildings we will cover in this phase.
Why can’t you just do all the buildings at one go?
Using our risk based analysis is the right thing to do to make sure we work our way through all of our buildings in the safest and fairest way. Due to the limited number of qualified people in the country who can carry out this work, and the high demand for their services at the moment, it is likely to take some time before we have completed all the detailed and intrusive surveys needed for this purpose on all the buildings in our building safety programme.
Phases three onwards
The subsequent phases of the programme will follow each year with buildings being assessed on a priority needs basis.
How will I know when my building will be included?
We understand and sympathise that if you are trying to move, re-mortgage or staircase, waiting for your building to go through the building safety programme is a frustrating and stressful time. We are doing everything we can to keep the programme moving at pace but we need to be realistic about timings. There is a huge amount of work to do and prioritising buildings based on a risk analysis is the right thing to do.
What this does mean is that some people are going to be waiting for a long time (in some cases years) before we get to their buildings. Some people have described this as an emerging national building safety crisis. We are just one of thousands of building owners across the country, faced with the need to check all our buildings and there are a limited pool of experts and contractors who are qualified to do the work. What we can say is that we are committed to completing this work and all our buildings have the required evidence of compliance with the government guidance. For buildings over 18m this means providing an EWS1 Form We will be letting residents who live in the buildings covered by Phase two of our programme know about timings as soon as we are able. Quite understandably, we have been getting lots of enquiries from residents who want to have a firm date and some certainty and we are doing our best to respond as quickly as we can.