Tackling fire safety – how we are rising to the challenge
Fire Safety in External Wall Systems continues to be a key industry focus and it remains top of our agenda at Rendall and Rittner.
Façade Safety Team
We have created a new team to deal with the challenges around façade safety. The team provides our operational teams with additional practical support and expertise relating to façade safety requirements.
This team has, in turn, created and is working closely with an external panel of experts, to ensure that we respond quickly and effectively to the changing demands and challenges relating to fire safety in external wall systems. The panel of experts includes specialist façade experts, fire engineers, surveyors and architects.
We have worked with the panel of experts to provide ongoing support and training to all Rendall and Rittner property management colleagues to ensure that they have the necessary knowledge and skills to address the challenges faced.
Working with the industry
We have also initiated a working group consisting of a number of well-respected larger managing agents, together with our professional associations; ARMA, RICS and IRPM in order to raise awareness of key issues and challenges; both in the press and with Government.
This group has published an open letter to the Chancellor, signed by a wide range of key stakeholders including leaseholder action groups, managing agents and freeholders. We were pleased to note that the Government launched the £1 Billion fund shortly after this letter was published.
Members of this working group have met with numerous MPs, together with the Minister of State for Housing Communities and Local Government, Lord Greenhalgh to outline our concerns and to make positive suggestions as to how current issues can be addressed.
The group is firmly of the view that the limited resources need to be centrally coordinated and centrally funded. They also believe that it is essential that buildings need to be made safe as a first priority, with any discussion and debate about how this should be funded following on once work is completed.
Rendall and Rittner meet monthly with MHCLG to update them on progress made both with remediation of ACM and Non-ACM across the portfolio.
We also continue to raise concerns and make practical suggestions to address current challenges whenever possible. Most recently we provided evidence to the HCLG Steering Committee Inquiry into Cladding: progress of remediation. Many of the conclusions reached as a result of this inquiry accorded with the evidence which we had provided specifically:
- £1 billion remediation fund is insufficient
- The Government should provide funding for the costs of interim fire safety measures
- The current External Wall Fire Review process is not working, and the Government should take control and put in place a faster and fairer system
Posted: 24 August 2020 by Sue Petri, Director