The Building Safety Act is introducing a series of changes designed to improve building safety and fire management. With significant impact for building owners, controllers and residents, it is imperative that our people understand the evolving landscape. Property Team Manager, Annette Tait, explains how Property Managers at Rendall & Rittner are reacting to these changes:
How is the role of Property Managers evolving to meet the needs of the Building Safety Act?
I believe the focus of Property Managers has shifted, putting Health and Safety firmly at the top of the list of priorities. That’s not to say that this area of responsibility wasn’t taken seriously before but following the disaster at Grenfell, I think all Property Managers now heavily prioritise anything related to safety, not only for the residents but for contractors and those involved in projects on site.
How is Rendall & Rittner ensuring the property management team is kept up to date with the latest updates to the Building Safety Act updates?
A lot more time is spent by all Property Managers and by senior colleagues studying, attending training, and in order to understand the measures needed at each site. Rendall & Rittner has a dedicated Health & Safety department, with qualified individuals who are responsible for keeping up with the latest developments. These are then conveyed to our people in a relatable manner, by way of bite-sized, plain English fact sheets.
We also have an online intranet resource library and regular training sessions, as well as our company monthly broadcasts which include a dedicated Health & Safety section updating our people on changes to regulations. This provides them with practical resources that are being made available both within that team, and to Property Managers to then manage the upcoming changes.
Our Health & Safety Team manages an annual calendar of employee training, and we hold Health & Safety month in May each year during which training sessions are organised on various topics that colleagues can join virtually.
How is your division building upon each other’s knowledge and experience to approach and understand the necessary changes under the legislation?
“We also collaborate within our divisions to ensure greater understanding of health and safety issues, by sharing our experiences as a team, and really working together. Our team meets daily (virtually) and discusses any and all issues we are dealing with. This allows for suggestions and practical advice to be shared amongst the team members. We also have a health and safety ‘champion’ who is IOSH Managing Safety trained as a go to for suggestions, or who can then take on the issues to the Health & Safety team.”
How are you communicating relevant information to clients/leaseholders/residents?
“Understanding the changes taking place is only the first step as we need to make sure that this information is effectively communicated to clients, leaseholders and residents, which requires different strategies for the various groups involved. For our clients, we have held recorded Broadcasts since early 2023 to communicate relevant updates. Some of our clients are the Principal Accountable Persons, some are not. Some are well read and educated in this field already, and others look to us to advise them on what they need to do."
“Initially, we needed to ascertain whether they wanted Rendall & Rittner to oversee applicable buildings for them and start obtaining quotes for safety cases etc. In some cases, it was necessary to explain what these issues were, why they were required and the implications to them and to the ultimate service charge payers of the properties.”
“With leaseholders and residents, who will in most instances be covering the costs of the necessary work, we’ve communicated with them via a comprehensive FAQ letter which covers all the points we feel they would raise. We’ve ensured this has been written as clearly and concisely as possible, avoiding ‘jargon’.”
For more information on the Building Safety Act and to view our broadcasts and bite-sized fact sheets visit our Health & Safety page.
Celebrating the success of our people is very important in ensuring that we are recognising their achievements, particularly in the vital area of customer service. We have therefore recently presented our Customer Service Champion Awards, recognising the accomplishments of office-based and on-site colleagues that have delivered excellent customer service. These awards were selected based on nominations from staff, clients, and residents.
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