Fire safety & cladding

IMAGE: Fire Exit sign

The safety of residents is our number one priority. We have robust procedures and comprehensive controls in place regarding fire safety which are reviewed and tested on a regular basis. We want to ensure all of our buildings continually meet the highest fire safety standards.

We want to make sure our residents are safe in the building they live in. It’s why we’re doing everything we can to comply with all the Government guidance and regulations to ensure all our buildings meet the required standards.

What's the latest position following the announcements made by the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities about building safety on 10 January 2022 and 14 February 2022?

The Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities addressed Parliament about building safety on 10 January 2022, with a further announcement made on 14 February 2022. 

We’re pleased Government are working towards a solution to fund the cost of fire remediation work and give leaseholders the protection they need. We agree that the developers, contractors and manufacturers who contributed to the building safety crisis should be held accountable. We’re continuing to pursue developers and other third parties for costs. 

We’ve also consistently lobbied for a solution which protects all our affected leaseholders from building safety costs. We welcome the Government’s proposed cap on leaseholder costs (£10,000 for homes outside London and £15,000 for homes in the capital). We’re seeking clarity on exactly what this will cover together with timescales for implementation.

Paul Hackett, Optivo’s Chief Executive, met with government officials recently alongside other housing association leaders. At the meeting we emphasised the importance of government releasing further information as soon as possible. Our leaseholders need clarity, reassurance and an end to the uncertainty they’ve faced over recent years.

Meanwhile, we’re continuing to review the new advice for assessing building safety, particularly PAS 9980 which government published in January.  We’re also awaiting the related Fire Safety Act Commencement Guidance. Once issued this will coincide with a Commencement Order, bringing the new Fire Safety Act into force. This is also expected to introduce a “building prioritisation tool” which will propose a risk-based assessment which we’ll then carry out on all of our blocks. 

Once our teams have been able to review the details behind these announcements, we’ll update affected leaseholders about what the new measures mean for their building. 

Due to the national shortage of fire engineers it’s difficult to give specific timescales at the moment. This shortage means it’s a challenge for us to reassess our blocks. We’re mindful any delay prevents leaseholders selling or re-mortgaging their homes and prolongs uncertainty and anxiety.

Our approach to fire safety will remain proportionate and we’ll only carry out works where they’re required. Keeping our residents safe in their building remains our number one priority.

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